Challengers top the Big Six in energy supplier survey

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In the latest energy satisfaction survey from Which?, Outfox the Market topped the list while traditional energy giants, such as British Gas and Scottish Power, were among the lowest-ranked suppliers.

The research, which was carried out in September 2020, surveyed more than 7,000 customers from 25 British energy companies to find out what they really think of the service they receive.

The organisation carries out this survey annually, rating suppliers across the following categories:

  • Bill accuracy
  • Bill clarity
  • Customer service
  • Complaints handling
  • Value for money

The overall average customer satisfaction score was 64%. Read on to find out which energy suppliers excelled and which have much-needed room for improvement.

Which were the top-scoring energy providers?

Up from 19th place the previous year, Outfox the Market topped the list for customer satisfaction for the first time. The supplier knocked Octopus Energy from its top spot, which the latter held for the previous two years in a row.

Outfox the Market received a customer score of 82%, as well as five-star ratings for both bill accuracy and value for money. Customers appear to be most satisfied with the supplier’s rates — it consistently offers some of the cheapest offers on the market. For the average household in London, the best offer with Outfox would cost around £80 per month.

Outfox was followed closely by Octopus Energy in second place (with a score of 80%) and Avro Energy in third (with a score of 76%).

You can find the top ten suppliers, according to Which?, in the table below, along with their customer score. You’ll notice that all of the top 10 positions were held by smaller, ‘challenger’ firms rather than the traditional ‘Big Six’ companies that dominated the energy market for years.

Ranking Energy supplier Customer score
1. Outfox the Market 82%
2. Octopus Energy 80%
3. Avro Energy 76%
4. People's Energy 75%
5. Pure Planet 74%
6. So Energy 73%
7. Utility Warehouse 71%
8. Ovo Energy 70%
8. Sainsbury's Energy 70%
10. Bulb Energy 69%
10. Green Network Energy (closed) 69%

Even though Outfox the Market ranked first in the survey, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend switching to the supplier just yet. Outfox failed to submit its complaints data for the survey, leaving us to question how satisfied its customers really are.

Last year, the supplier also found itself in hot water when it was ordered by Ofgem to make a payment for the feed-in tariff scheme. With such concerns, how did the supplier still manage to top the survey results?

These factors did, however, deter Which? from awarding Outfox a spot on its ‘Which? Recommended Provider’ list. Only two suppliers actually made the cut for this year’s list: Octopus Energy and Pure Planet.

Which were the lowest-scoring energy providers?

The six energy companies that once dominated the energy market (British Gas, Scottish Power, Eon, EDF Energy, SSE and Npower) all ranked among the bottom 10, according to this latest Which? survey.

It isn’t the first time these companies, which 15 years ago supplied all British homes, find themselves among the bottom half — these large energy firms have consistently ranked among the worst for customer satisfaction, according to Which?.

Npower (which is now owned by Eon) received the lowest rating with a customer score of 54%. Scottish Power barely avoided coming in last place with a score of 55%. Both of these companies were the only ones to receive just two stars for complaints and bill clarity. For value for money, they each received just one star.

SSE and Eon tied for second-to-last place with customer scores of 60%. We hope to see SSE’s customer experience improve now that the supplier is owned by Ovo Energy, which came in eighth place in the survey.

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