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EDF Energy Reviews 2019: What do customers think?

EDF Energy

EDF Energy Reviews 2019:

As one of the Big Six, EDF Energy has been in the British market since 2002. Typically, Big Six companies don’t strain themselves, being content to coast along, relying on customer inertia to keep the profits coming instead of delivering value-for-money or better customer service. So how does EDF Energy measure up?



EDF Energy Reviews: An Overview

Papers

According to Ofgem figures EDF Energy performs fairly typically along with the rest of the Big Six when it comes to customer satisfaction.

The latest figures from Ofgem show 68% of EDF Energy’s electricity customers say they are satisfied with its service. That's not terrible, but it’s behind SSE’s 74%, British Gas and EON with 71% and on par with Scottish Power. Only Npower ranks lower out of the Big Six.

When it comes to contacting the supplier, 68% of customers say they are satisfied with how accessible EDF is. That puts it fourth behind British Gas and SSE with 75% and EON which gets a 70% rating.

In this survey just 29% of customers would recommend EDF Energy. While that’s higher than the 28% ratings given to Scottish Power and Npower, it still puts it lower than EON which gets 33% approval and British Gas and SSE which 35% of customers would recommend.

There’s more bad news when it comes to how customers feel the company treats them, with just 29% saying EDF values its customers. It shares last place with Npower and Scottish Power. Thirty six percent of EON customers feel valued, as do 38% of those with SSE. British Gas is way out in front with 44% of its base feeling valued.

The figures are much the same among EDF’s gas customer base.


EDF Energy Customer Service

Customer service staff

The landscape looks a bit different over on the consumer review site Trustpilot. Out of 5,464 reviews, 68% rated the supplier as ’Excellent’. The next biggest rating was 22% calling the company ‘Bad’. Six percent rated it ‘Great’, 3% ‘Poor’ and 2% ‘Average’.

The vast majority of positive reviews praise the ease of getting in contact with the company, especially via its LiveChat feature and the how quickly staff resolve problems.

This customer gave the company five stars and said it was an “amazing service with personality”:

“Amazing service, the online chat is convenient and very easy to use even for those of us who are not great with technology. The advisor was super helpful, understood my query straight away and got resolution. If you want great service and advisors who let their own personality shine then look no further. I will be recommending you to all my friends EDF Energy :).

Sophie Maclaren also left a five-star rating about her “great experience with the 24/7 chat”:

“Have really appreciated the recent customer service from EDF. 24/7 live chat, answered promptly, knew what they were doing and really helpful. Customer service this good is rare. Thanks EDF!” - Sophie Maclaren

According to research by Which?, live chat is the fastest way to get in touch with your supplier.

In EDF’s case it took an average of 19.08 minutes for a caller to get through to an agent on the phone, putting it 35th in a survey of 38 suppliers. However, on live chat the agent responded in an average of 2.67 minutes. Many of EDF’s tariffs are online only which means customers cannot use the phone for support, so it’s just as well its online system works so efficiently.

There is also praise for EDF’s engineers in the field.

Gareth Bendle gave his smart meter installation a rating of “Excellent”:

“All quick and simple to use. The installer Delbert was very friendly and helpful and willing to answer any questions or advice. Great service EDF Energy.” - Gareth Bendle

Mia had a similar experience with “brilliant service”:

“I've always had a really good service from EDF. Had 2 engineers round recently fitting electric and gas smart meter and they were lovely guys, very kind and helpful! Great customer service too from EDF every time I call I always get greeted kindly and queries are dealt with promptly and efficiently. 100% recommend for customer service.” - Mia

That said, the most prominent issue attracting negative reviews for EDF is in fact smart meters.

Mikey left a one star rating and has had enough of EDF:

“Keep getting told that they will try to commission the meter,but they said it doesn't have a signal,but yet the front panel has 3 bars of signal. Sick of getting asked to send manual readings and to close my complaint, FIX THE PROBLEM!! After my contract is up I’m leaving and I won't be using them in the future.”- Mikey

Becky left a rating of ‘Bad’ following her experience with EDF’s lack of smart meter smarts:

“Smart meter, there’s absolutely nothing smart about it. The engineer didn’t think to check with my Economy 7 timings when fitted so left me without hot water for almost a week. I was left with no option but to use the immersion in order to get hot water. Stressful doesn’t even cut it. To then phone into customer services and be spoken to in such a degrading manner by a member of staff who stated that EDF don’t have to inform customers of things that could go wrong with a smart meter and that I was basically stuck with it.” - Becky

Becky eventually had to request to speak with a manager to get her problem sorted out. She said getting a smart meter was the “worst decision ever.”

Ofgem is investigating claims of Big Six energy suppliers harassing customers into accepting smart meters or using other underhanded tactics such as claiming the meters are obligatory and that they will be fined if they don’t get one.

Take Chris for example. His problem is that EDF really, really want to give him a smart meter, but in his case he’s not falling for it:

“I get phone calls, messages and emails non-stop about installing a smart meter. I have said to EDF that I am not interested, but they keep harassing me every week since I signed up with them. I'm not very happy at all and will go back to use one of the smaller providers again!” - Chris

Mrs Deborah O'Malley pointed out an interesting paradox in EDF’s communications strategy:

“I struggle with how a company can increase my monthly bill by over half from £92.00 to £147.00 a month without informing me. Either via an email or in writing. Yet ring weekly to ask me to get a smart meter.” - Mrs Deborah O'Malley

Another common problem are the final bills when people move suppliers. EDF Energy seems to have some problems saying goodbye to former customers:

“If I could give zero stars I would! Been paying every month religiously via direct debit. [...] So paid up the final bill and 2 weeks later, got sent an email I have to pay an extra £101...Avoid this company like a plague! Hence I moved to another supplier!” - Ivan Y

There are quite a number of longer sagas recounted on Trustpilot by customers or former customers. In a lot of cases, shock bills turn up years after someone has moved house or switched to another supplier, often accompanied by legal threats for non-payment.

Another common theme is that of direct debit payments suddenly doubling without any warning from the company, despite it having customers’ home addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses.

Many stories describe long drawn-out smart meter installations lasting weeks or months without resolution. Issues range from having difficulty arranging an installation in the first place, to engineers not turning up, to installed equipment not working or having an incorrect or outdated model put in. In many cases customers have just given up and demanded EDF remove the smart meters and replace them with old-fashioned ones.

EDF Energy’s live chat customer service gets a lot of praise for helping solve problems, but perhaps the company needs to focus on preventing such problems arising in the first place.


Tariffs and Prices

Stack of money

Researching and comparing EDF Energy tariffs via their website is an extremely frustrating and confusing process, it almost seems like it doesn’t want customers to get a simple overview of its offer.

In April 2019, EDF Energy decided Ofgem’s price cap was a target rather than a limit and introduced a 10% price rise for standard variable tariffs, just scraping the cap.

When Ofgem reduced the cap to £1,179, EDF’s average energy price was just £2 lower at £1,177.

EDF is not in the business of low prices. Its standard variable tariff comes to around £1,800 per year for gas and electricity together for a typical home. The market offers huge savings for people who are willing to click around a little.

Shaun Crous called EDF prices a “rip off!”:

“They are an absolute rip off with their energy prices! Disgusting! Would not recommend them!” - Shaun Crous

While others, like Lori Tcherniakov, are more content with their tariff, we wonder how aware they are of the better offers that are available:

“Excellent service and great value for money - switching to EDF Energy saved me 21 % on my combined bills last year. Thanks to everybody at EDF for providing high quality service.” - Lori Tcherniakov

It’s easier than ever to compare different energy providers and switch to a better deal these days. You can compare offers for electricity and gas, find a personalised electricity and gas tariff online or call one of our friendly, knowledgeable advisors on +44 170 432 50 69.


Bills and Account Management

Many customers complain of receiving unexpectedly high bills, tariff changes or finding themselves paying for the company’s mistakes.

Nathan warned people to beware of price hikes after the first year:

“Went from paying £55 a month in our first year to over £120 a month with very little warning.” - Nathan

“Absolutely diabolical” is how Adam described his experience with EDF Energy:

“After I switched EDF hit me with a £360 debt that apparently had built up on my account because they hadn't bothered to put my monthly direct debit up to clear it.” - Adam

Another reviewer, Richard, said the company had doubled his direct debit for no reason and without warning. It then threatened legal action over a bill of £56 without contacting him about it first.

In terms of account management, it definitely seems that many customers make extensive use of the live chat feature. Of course, the website and app have plenty of tools as well.

Manzoor Dadar was impressed by the online options:

“Best web site and service easy to use, all staff very helpful.” - Manzoor Dadar

Meanwhile, Richard has good things to say about the company’s app:

“I found using my app account with EDF very easy and informative to use, along with the satisfaction, communication by messaging is a great idea than using telephone which I sometimes could not understand or hear voice properly.” - Richard

It seems that, despite the myriad ways EDF Energy has to contact customers, the company appears to have an uneven track record when it comes to informing them about their tariffs.

EDF Energy mascot, Ziggy

While it’s important to check the small print to avoid being caught unawares, many companies actively help their customers by communicating things like end of contract periods, price rises or tariff changes in advance so customers can take the necessary steps to avoid or prepare for extra costs.

Perhaps the EDF Energy website’s overly-complicated tariff pages should be seen as a good measure of the company’s attitude to pricing transparency.

While EDF’s apps and live chat features are useful for many, not everyone is handy with technology and almost one in five people in the UK are not even online.

EDF Energy offers special tariffs with online-only support, but many vulnerable people, older people or people with disabilities can only use the phone to contact the outside world and may not be able to take advantage of these tariffs. Moreover, for these potential customers an average waiting time on the phone of 19.08 minutes before speaking to a human being is not a very enticing prospect.


Complaint Handling

megaphone

EDF Energy are fairly proactive on Trustpilot, responding to complaints by offering to help customers with their reported problems. Some customers post updates stating that the problem had been resolved or had at least progressed somewhat.

According to Ofgem, the total number of complaints received by EDF during the second quarter of 2019 was 110,600. That’s 2,025 less than the same period last year. Of the total number of Q2 complaints, 102,197 were classed as ‘resolved’.

Per 100,000 customers EDF received 2,261 complaints in this period.

For comparison, the highest number of complaints received among the Big Six was 2,778 for EON and the lowest number was 1,366 for British Gas.

Fifty one percent of complaints were resolved by EDF by the end of the next working day. SSE comes top in this field and managed 80%, while the lowest was Scottish Power with 41% of problems solved quickly.

The next metric Ofgem uses is if problems are solved within eight weeks. Here, EDF manages a 95% resolution rate, coming second behind SSE at 96%. The lowest here is Scottish Power at 82%.

Billing was the issue with the highest number of complaints at 30%, followed by metering at 20%. Payments came in at 14%, customer service at 11% and change of supplier came last at 6%.


EDF Energy Reviews: The Verdict

Selectra tick

All in all, EDF Energy is probably a middle-of-the-road choice for your energy provider. Its prices are usually pushing the wrong end of what Ofgem allows suppliers to charge, so you’re not going to save money if you go with EDF, no matter how hard you search through its labyrinth of tariffs.

On the other hand, its customer service is trying hard to move past its shortcomings. The live chat service is responsive, friendly and convenient and certainly a lot more pleasant than hanging on the phone for ages.

However, as one of the Big Six and partly-owned by the French state, EDF Energy is, for the moment, unlikely to face much pressure to change its pricing strategy.

Additionally, although it claims to be a low-carbon producer with coal and gas making up just 16.04% of its energy mix, only 11.73% of its fuel mix comes from renewables.

The low-carbon claim is based on its use of nuclear power which it relies on for 72.07% of its supply. It does offer so-called ‘blue’ tarifs which go only towards nuclear generation, but some people may not be comfortable with this energy source.

The market is full of cheaper and greener options to consider and it’s never been easier to switch provider. Click around, you might be surprised at what’s out there.

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