EDF Energy is a subsidiary of the French state-owned EDF Group (Electricité de France), and is one of Europe’s largest energy suppliers. EDF supplies energy to about five and a half million customers in Britain. It generates roughly a fifth of the UK’s electricity. How does EDF score with customers in its customer service provision? Here we look at two major studies from the end of last year to get an overview.
Which? Customer Satisfaction Survey 2014
The Which? Customer Satisfaction Survey is a good benchmark when looking at an energy supplier. Their survey is the largest of its kind, and involves a sample group of around 9,400 customers. The satisfaction ratings are not just about customer service, but a range of issues such as billing and meter readings. Since many of the criteria touch on the overall issue of customer service, the figures are helpful in making a judgement on how happy you might feel if you were one of their customers.
In this survey, EDF came 15th out of 18 energy suppliers. 969 EDF customers were sampled. You can look at a breakdown of their ratings on the Which? website, here.
uSwitch Energy Award Rating
uSwitch run another big customer satisfaction survey of energy customers. They survey the ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers, and two smaller ones.
In their survey, EDF came 4th out of the 8 companies, but 2nd out of the ‘Big Six’. However, it is worth emphasising the fact that their customer service satisfaction had increased more than any other energy supplier – by 8% on the 2014 figures. This is a significant and impressive figure, which marks them out as a company that takes improvements in customer service seriously.
EDF – Good News and Bad News
Ofgem announced, in October 2014, that EDF had breached the Consumer Complaints Handling Standards. EDF agreed to make payments totalling £3 million to consumer energy advice organisations. Their spokesman said that these particular errors occurred during an 18-month transfer onto a new IT system, ‘despite careful planning and investment’.
Whilst this may sound alarming, remember that Ofgem is constantly monitoring all of our energy suppliers, and most of the Big Six have fallen foul of regulations in some way. Almost all have had to pay substantial fines for shortcomings.
The good news for EDF is that 8% increase in customer satisfaction. It is worth reading their own analysis, whilst bearing in mind that these cover operational metrics, and not customer satisfaction ratings:
“Our service levels improved throughout 2014 and from May onwards we answered 55% of calls within 60 seconds. After we relaunched our website and improved our web chat service… live chats have increased from 7,000 to more than 24,000 per week, with 95% of chats started within 60 seconds. Email volumes stayed constant throughout 2014, and we responded to 88% of emails within 24 hours.”
They make an important point about the level of customer complaints to the energy Ombudsman, which have risen across the industry during 2014. In fact, they were up 191% from 2013. EDF’s relative share of complaints dropped during that period. With a market share of 12%, their share of complaints fell from 10% in 2013 to 5% in 2014.
There are no exit fees with EDF. But their level of customer dissatisfaction has been less than impressive in the last couple of years. Let’s hope the upward trend in satisfaction continues. But EDF do support the Which? campaign for single unit energy prices, which will help customers compare energy suppliers. They also announced they would give a full annual refund on direct debit credit – the only energy supplier to do so.