RSS Feed

Related Articles

Related Categories

Small energy providers power ahead of big six in customer satisfaction

26th November 2014 Print

New figures reveal a gulf in consumer satisfaction between the country’s two largest new energy providers and the traditional big six, according to’s ninth annual independent report of 5,300 energy customers.

Small providers Ovo Energy and First Utility score an average customer satisfaction rating of 83% compared to just 69% with the big six

Ovo Energy sweeps the board with an overall satisfaction rating of 86% – the highest in the report’s nine year history – winning ten out of 12 award categories including value for money, customer service and billing

E.ON comes top of the big six suppliers for average customer satisfaction with 76% – up five per cent from last year

npower is least popular with customers, coming last with an overall satisfaction score of 58% – 28 percentage points behind winner Ovo

Over three-quarters (76%) of Ovo and First Utility customers would recommend their supplier, compared with just half (50%) of big six customers

80% of Ovo and First Utility customers are satisfied with the value for money they receive, compared with just over half (55%) of those with the big six.

Average customer satisfaction with small providers Ovo Energy and First Utility is 83%, compared to just 69% for the big six. The big six suppliers did, however, increase average satisfaction by two per cent, from 67% in 2013.

The findings, which rank Britain’s big six suppliers and – for the first time this year – the two largest new providers, put Ovo Energy in pole position. The supplier wins ten out of 12 award categories with an 86% satisfaction rating overall, smashing the previous record of 79% set by SSE in 2010. Rival small provider First Utility comes in second place, with a score of 79%.

Big six supplier E.ON comes top of the big six and third overall with a 76% rating – up five per cent since last year. By stark contrast, npower’s rating of 58% sees it in last place for the seventh consecutive year – coming bottom in seven out of the 12 categories. It is least likely to be recommended by customers (38%) and comes last for customer service (47%) and billing services (54%). The provider has, however, continued to make good progress in improving its overall satisfaction scores – rising from 52% in 2012 and 57% last year.

ScottishPower is the only major energy company with a lower customer satisfaction score than last year, dropping three per cent from 67% to 64%.

The results show other marked differences between the small providers and the big six. Over three-quarters (76%) of Ovo and First Utility customers would recommend their supplier and 80% say they get value for money, compared with just 50% and 55%, respectively, of big six customers.

However, perceptions of customer service vary across providers big and small. Whilst three-quarters (75%) of Ovo Energy customers are satisfied with issues including the time taken to resolve queries, this drops to just 57% of those with First Utility and 47% with npower. EDF Energy increased its customer service satisfaction score by an impressive eight per cent this year to 63%, just behind E.ON, who comes in second place with 65%.

Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at, says: “These results prove that smaller providers are setting a high bar when it comes to customer satisfaction. It’s encouraging to see the big six continuing to move in the right direction, but it’s hugely disappointing that so many of their customers remain dissatisfied.

“Suppliers offering good customer service and low prices will continue to steal customers from their competitors and this is exactly what competition is all about. The results are a wakeup call to suppliers to do a lot more to stop consumers leaving in droves.

“Today’s report also underlines the fact that people should not put up with bad service, poor value for money or uncompetitive prices. It’s never been simpler to switch and in fact consumers consistently rate suppliers’ transfer processes very highly.”