Npower review: latest news on E. ON takeover
For years, Npower has been one of the biggest gas and electricity suppliers in the UK. However, due to financial difficulties, it is now facing extinction as fellow Big Six supplier, E. ON, effectively swallows it up! Read on for the latest Npower news on the merger and what it means for current customers in terms of tariffs, prices and online accounts.
|Npower is merging with E. ON! For more details and to switch suppliers before you become an E. ON customer and risk paying more for your bills, call 01704 468120.|
|Electricity: Natural gas, nuclear, renewables, coal||Large range of tariffs|
|Fuel mix score: ★||Lots of extra services, including boiler cover and energy grants|
|Domestic Market: England, Scotland, Wales||Poor customer service|
|Customers: 3.6 million||One of the more expensive providers on the market|
|Selectra score: ★★||Low use of renewable energy|
With almost two decades of experience, Npower Limited is one of the most seasoned energy suppliers in Britain, supplying electricity and gas to 3.6 million households and business premises.
The Npower Limited head office is based in Swindon and the company trades under the name Npower.
E. ON and Npower
There has been a lot of uncertainty recently about the future of Npower since E. ON UK acquired the provider in 2019. Here we answer all your questions.
1. Who owns Npower energy?
Npower is owned by E. ON UK, which itself is a subsidiary of the giant german energy company E. ON. Npower was acquired by E. ON UK in 2019 after a planned merger between Npower and fellow British supplier, SSE, fell through.
2. Does Npower still exist?
The brand Npower still exists, but the supplier has been taken over by E.ON UK. Over the space of two years, E. ON will effectively swallow Npower, cutting jobs and taking on all of its customers. This means that, eventually, the Npower brand will disappear.
For now, the Npower website still exists and current customers can log into their online account to manage their tariff. Existing customers are being moved over to an E. ON supply over time. Npower will contact you when this starts to happen and has promised there will be no disruption to your energy supply during the process.
New customers cannot take out a Npower tariff. When getting a quote on the Npower website, you will be redirected to E. ON UK.
3. Are E. ON and Npower the same company?
Technically, Npower and E. ON are not the same company. Having said that, E. ON is currently in the process of absorbing Npower meaning Npower customers will become E. ON customers and the brand will eventually cease to exist.
4. Who is the CEO of Npower?
Paul Coffey was the Npower CEO from 2015 until November 2019. As Npower is now owned by E. ON UK, it now has the same CEO - Michael Lewis.
5. Is Npower going bust?
Npower has faced many difficulties since the introduction of Ofgem’s energy price cap, which saw the profits of all of the Big Six energy companies drop. As the CEO of parent company E. ON stated:
The price cap has had a very detrimental effect on the whole of the energy sector and the business is not sustainable.
In an attempt to mitigate these financial losses, it has cut around 4,5000 jobs and plans to close many of its UK sites, including those in Hull, Leeds and Swindon, as part of a two-year plan to restructure the company. This plan will see E. ON UK absorb Npower, thus cutting costs by having all E. ON and Npower customers on the same platform.
Npower in the news
Over the years, Npower news has consisted of fines and investigations by Ofgem, financial losses and job cuts. Let’s take a look at some of the supplier’s top headlines:
- April 2008, Npower was fined £1.8 million by the energy regulator Ofgem for the fraudulent sales tactics of its door-to-door salespeople. The allegations included misleading potential customers by giving false information. This was done with the objective of getting them to sign what they were told was “just a form”, which in fact, was a binding contract.
- September 2013, Npower was accused of avoiding corporation tax for three years. This sparked public anger as millions of UK citizens were being pushed into fuel poverty while Npower made huge profits. In fact, its profits had totalled £766m throughout the previous three years from the date of the story’s publication. Npower denied any tax avoidance. Meanwhile, public interest groups such as 38 Degrees called for Npower customers to boycott or switch over to other providers.
- December 2015, Npower was ordered by Ofgem to pay a £26m settlement over poor customer service and inaccurate bills to its customers. Ofgem launched an investigation into Npower’s widespread billing errors and poor complaints handling practices. This included chasing debts that were in dispute. Npower blamed their faulty IT system, which had issued 500,000 late bills, with little detail on how the totals had been calculated. As customers left, Npower’s losses were reported to the tune of £111m in the first nine months of the year.
- January 2019, Npower announced that it would cut 900 jobs this year which would amount to a 15% cut to its UK workforce. This was in response to the supplier’s financial losses, which it attributed to the government’s price cap on default tariffs. Npower argued that this had made a huge dent in Npower’s revenue. The government contested Npower’s justification for the job losses, citing inefficiency as the real reason.
As we have reported, Npower cut 4,500 jobs in 2019 from across its UK sites, and more are due to close. Due to E. ON’s take over, Npower jobs are not readily available and it probably isn’t the wisest idea to start down that road at this time!
E. ON, UK on the other hand, frequently has a variety of jobs available, including graduate schemes and apprenticeships for those just starting their careers. Keep an eye on the provider’s website to see if any vacancies catch your eye.
As of the date of Npower Ltd’s latest Confirmation Statement published on 24 June 2019, the company has allotted 101,000,001 one GBP ordinary shares. These are all held by Npower Retail Group Limited, which is the sole majority shareholder. The Npower share price changes in line with the market.
Reviews - Is Npower a good supplier?
Following those terrible news headlines, it will come as no surprise that Npower reviews are far from glowing. Many customers on reviews sites mention poor customer service, including difficulties in getting through to a customer service agent and never having calls returned if they requested a callback. Customer reviews also frequently mention inaccurate bills and poor bill clarity.
Complaint handling is another area Npower seems to fail at. Despite having a detailed complaint handling procedure outlined on its website, the company rarely seems to have followed it, resulting in poor and ineffective complaints handling that led to fines from Ofgem!
Overall, Npower reviews appear pretty negative across all areas: from customer service to value for money. For a more detailed look at reviews in each area, head to our dedicated Npower reviews page.
Does E. ON fair better when it comes to customer reviews? Head to our E. ON reviews page to find out.
Account and login
Existing Npower customers still have access to the Npower portal, which allows them to submit meter readings, track their energy usage and view their energy bills all online.
There is a separate online account for domestic and business customers. Luckily, both systems are really easy to log in to and use, but if you are having a few difficulties, check out our Npower login guide for a step-by-step guide.
As well as the online portal, there is also aNpower app available. This allows customers to manage their account from their mobile or tablet, making it even easier to access your account whenever you need to.
A cool feature of the app is the ‘personal timeline’. This gives you a projected forecast of your energy usage for the year, letting you stay in increasing control of your usage and spending so there are no surprises. It also allows you to:
- Submit meter readings (you can receive notifications of when one is due)
- Tell Npower you’re moving home
- View your energy usage
- Chat to Npower customer service through Whatsapp
The Npower app is available from the Google Play Store and App Store for Android and Apple devices respectively.
Customers who need to submit regular meter readings to ensure they receive accurate bills can do so in three ways.
- Online - just log in to your online account and submit your meter readings.
- Mobile app - just click onto the app and you can submit the readings in a few simple clicks. The app even has a handy torch to help you read your meter if needed.
- Phone - you can also submit a Npower meter reading any time over the phone. From landlines call 0800 073 3000 and from mobiles rings 0300 100 3000.
Npower tariffs and prices
As we mentioned early, new customers can no longer take out a Npower tariff. When getting a quote online - you will be redirected to the tariffs offered by E. ON.
Existing customers with a Npower tariff will gradually be moved over to an E. ON supply, but you will be notified when this happens. If you are not moved over before your current tariff runs out, you will not be able to renew with Npower and will be switched on to an E. ON tariff, unless you choose to switch providers.
In this section, we give a brief overview of Npower tariffs. For more details on their features and prices, see our Npower tariffs guide.
1. Fixed-rate tariffs
Npower offered a total of four fixed-rate tariffs. These vary in features and contract length, and all imposed exit fees of £30 per fuel.
Current customers on a fixed-rate tariff will see no change to their contract, unit-rates or standing charge under the acquisition by E. ON. Npower ensures that fixed-rate means fixed-rate and no changes will be made even if you get transferred to an E. ON supply.
2. Variable-rate tariff
Npower’s variable tariff is called the Standard Variable Price tariff. Like all variable tariffs, this has no contract length or exit fees, but also offers no price security as unit rates can change according to the wholesale price of energy.
As E. ON starts to take over Npower customers, customers on this tariff might see a change to their unit rates to fit with those offered on the supplier’s variable tariff.
3. Economy 7 tariffs
All of the fixed-rate tariffs offered by Npower can be taken out as Economy 7 tariffs for customers who have an Economy 7 meter. This means you will have two unit rates for both gas and electricity - a day rate and a night rate.
The night rate is the cheaper rate and applies during slightly different hours depending on where you live. The easiest way to find the hours that apply to you is to check your meter or read the Economy 7 hours by region table in our detailed Npower tariff guide (linked above).
As these are fixed-rate tariffs, the same conditions apply as normal fixed-rate tariffs in regards to changes with your new supplier - nothing will change until the end of your contract.
4. Prepayment tariffs
Npower offers three different prepayment tariffs:
- Economy 7
With these tariffs, customers pay for energy as they use it, meaning they have no contract and do not receive regular energy bills.
When switched over to an E. ON supply, you will be swapped on to one of the provider’s prepayment tariffs, meaning your rates might change.
5. Business tariffs
Npower offers several business-specific tariffs for its corporate customers. These include fixed-rate contracts (12 months and four years), as well as a variable rate tariff.
Head to Selectra’s Npower for Businesses guide to find out more about the provider’s business tariffs and how the merger will affect them.
How do Npower prices compare to the market?
The UK energy price cap has been attributed to Npower’s financial losses and subsequent downfall, so how does the price of the supplier’s variable standard tariff actually compare to the price cap?
In the table below we have broken down the price of this tariff for a medium-sized household in London paying by monthly direct debit.
|Npower Standard Tariff||Gas||Electricity|
|Unit rate (per kWh)||3.610p||17.604p|
|Standing charge (per day)||27.34p||23.72p|
Overall annual cost
*price correct as of March 2020
Based on this calculation, at £1164 a year, Npower’s variable tariff comes in £15 under the price cap (currently set at £1179). This is a pretty normal price for a big energy company, with all of the Big Six coming in with roughly the same price (including E. ON).
This doesn’t mean you have to accept this price! A lot of smaller, independent suppliers offer cheaper prices. Use Selectra’s handy comparison tool to see all the deals available or give our energy experts a call on 01704 468120 (Monday-Friday: 7am-8pm). They can help you compare prices and find the best affordable plan for your household.
How can I pay my Npower bill?
There are many ways you can pay your Npower bill.Direct debit - Npower direct debit is probably the easiest way to pay your bill. This involves paying a set amount every month for a year based on yearly estimated energy usage. You can set up this payment and it will automatically leave your account each month, so you don’t need to worry about remembering to pay your bill.
Online - when you receive your bill, you can log into your Npower online account and pay your bill by debit or credit card.
Phone - you can also pay by debit or credit over the phone, just call the automated phone line on 0800 073 3000
Bank transfer - Npower will also accept a bank transfer. Make sure you use your account number as the payment reference. The Npower bank details are:
- Sort code - 62-30-09
- Account number - 00000000
At the bank - your Npower bill will come with a payment slip, you can fill this in and take it to your bank to pay.
Post office - you can also pay your Npower bill at the Post Office by cash or cheque.
Payzone/PayPoint - another option is to pay by cash at a Payzone or PayPoint store.
Post - you can send a cheque made out to ‘npower’ to npower, Payment Processing Centre, PO Box 203, Leeds, LS14 3WE.
Having some difficulties reading your Npower bill? Use our Your Bill Explained guide for a full breakdown of what everything on your bill means.
Prepayment and top up
Another Npower payment method is pay-as-you-go. This means you pay for your energy as you use it. To ‘pay bills’ in this way, you must have a prepayment meter and a prepayment tariff.
In reality, this method does not really involve paying bills. Instead, you top up your meter with credit.
Npower customers can top up their prepayment meters at their local Payzone or PayPoint store, or at the Post Office. The maximum you can top up is £49. Unfortunately, there is no online Npower top up option.
If your credit drops below £1 and can’t top up, you have access to £7 (£12 for Economy 7) of emergency credit. To activate this you simply need to put your gas card or electricity key into the relevant meter and the emergency credit will kick in.
Npower’s fuel mix isn’t as simple to understand as other suppliers as Npower customers are supplied by a number of different licences (Npower Limited, Npower Northern Limited, Npower Northern Supply Limited, Npower Yorkshire Limited and Npower Yorkshire Supply Limited).
Moreover, Npower Business customers are supplied by Npower Direct Limited, whilst Npower Business Solutions customers are supplied by either Npower Limited or Npower Northern Limited.
The fuel mix, meaning the ratio of different energy sources a supplier uses to generate electricity, is different for each licence. In the table below we have broken down the fuel mix for each from April 2018 to March 2019.
|Trading entity||Coal||Natural gas||Nuclear||Renewable||Other|
|Npower Northern Limited/Npower Northern Supply Limited||11.7%||62.0%||18.8%||3.6%||4.0%|
|Npower Yorkshire Limited/Npower Yorkshire Supply Limited||11.8%||62.5%||19.0%||2.8%||4.0%|
|Npower Direct Limited||11.8%||62.6%||19.0%||2.6%||4.0%|
*the licence that supplies your household will be listed on your energy bill
As we can see from this table, none of the Npower licences source much of their energy from renewables, such as wind and solar power, which is quite disappointing. In fact, while the provider does offer a 100% renewable tariff, its overall fuel mix is heavily reliant on natural gas and uses little green energy.
While E. ON fares slightly better when it comes to using renewable energy, it is still below the national average for the majority of its tariffs. To switch to an affordable energy provider that uses 100% green energy, give Selectra a call on 01704 468120 (Monday-Friday: 7am-8pm).
Npower began its mass rollout of smart meters to over 3 million customers in 2016, in response to the government’s countrywide roll-out scheme.
If you are a Npower customer, you can request an installation through your online account. You will simply need to book an installation date and time. An engineer will then come and install your meter and show you how to use the in-home display and hub.
Unfortunately, if you have had a smart meter installed by another energy provider, it will not function with Npower’s systems and will default to a normal meter. This means you will need to submit meter readings every month to make sure you continue to get accurate bills.
All Npower smart meters will continue to work after your supply is switched to E. ON. For more information, consult our Npower smart meters guide.
Npower energy grants
If you’re one of the many homeowners around the UK who need a bit of financial help with energy bills, Npower offers its customers a variety of grants.
1. Warm Home Discount
The Warm Home Discount scheme is a one-off payment of £140 that is automatically taken off the sum total of your electricity bills between October and April. It is a government scheme that all energy suppliers with more than 150,000 customers must take part in, meaning Npower is obliged to offer it.
For details on eligibility and how to apply with Npower, read our Npower Warm Home Discount guide.
If you receive the Warm Home Discount automatically, or have already applied with Npower for the 2019/2020, you will automatically get the payment from E. ON if your supply is switched over.
2. ECO scheme
Under the ECO scheme, homeowners can receive home insulation services and/or boiler installation and maintenance services, either free of charge or at a subsidised rate.
The scheme was made compulsory for the UK’s 11 largest energy suppliers, including Npower, to help homeowners with their heating needs. Npower has called this service the “Affordable Warmth” programme, under which it aims to provide free or subsidised:
- Replacement boilers
- Cavity wall insulation
- Loft insulation
3. Npower Energy fund
Npower has set up its own charitable trust, the Npower Energy Fund, to help its domestic customers keep up with their energy payments. It currently runs two main schemes:Npower Health Through Warmth grant
If you suffer from a long-term illness but you don’t qualify for the ECO Affordable Warmth scheme, Npower’s Health Through Warmth grant can provide financial help for:
- Boiler replacement
- Boiler repairs
- Home insulation (cavity wall and loft insulation)
- Purchase of new energy-efficient appliances
As it’s run through Npower’s charitable arm, you don’t need to be a Npower customer to apply and receive this grant. To be eligible, you must:
- Have a long-term illness.
- Not qualify for the ECO Affordable Warmth scheme.
- Occupy a home in England or Wales.
- Have a low income.
- Have little or no savings.
- Be unfit for professional employment.
Find out if you qualify for the Health Through Warmth grant and how to apply for it.Npower Fuel Bank
Npower has partnered up with the Trussell Trust and Durham Christian Partnership to offer the Fuel Bank scheme. If you have a prepayment meter and you get referred to a participating food bank, you can get a top-up voucher that provides your home with enough credit for approximately two weeks-worth of energy. This voucher can be redeemed at a PayPoint machine.
Visit the Npower Fuel Bank page to find out if you qualify for the scheme and how to apply.
As well as tariffs and energy grants, Npower also offers a number of extra services to its customers.
1. Home Boiler Service
Npower boasts extensively about a service for its domestic customers, aptly called “Home Services”. This can actually just be boiled down to its boiler cover.
The provider has teamed up with insurance heavyweight Allianz to offer boiler breakdown cover. In the event of a boiler malfunction, they’ll send a gas safe registered engineer to your home to fix it. You could be covered against the cost of any repair work and parts up to £1,500.
Npower boiler service also offers two stand-alone boiler cover policies, as well as two combined policies that include both boiler cover and central heating cover. The four policies are as follows:
Boiler and heating policies
|Policy name||Boiler Cover||Boiler Cover Plus||Boiler & Heating Cover||Boiler & Heating Cover Plus|
|Price per month*||£10.92||£16.44||£11.70||£16.79|
*if you choose a £99 excess
2. Home insulation
Since most heat is lost through your roof and walls, ensuring that your home is well insulated is key to creating an energy-efficient home and reducing your energy bills. To help, Npower offers three types of home insulation services:
- Cavity wall insulation - key benefit includes reducing heat loss to bring down your energy bills down by as much as £250 per year (Energy Saving Trust 2018).
- Loft insulation- Loft insulation prevents heat from escaping as it rises. You could save up to £215 per year with loft insulation (Energy Saving Trust 2018).
- External wall insulation - older homes, built before 1945, were typically built with uninsulated solid walls, instead of the insulated cavity walls used in newer builds. According to the Energy Saving Trust 2014, getting these walls insulated could save you £180 (Medium terrace or bungalow), £270 (Medium semi-detached), £540 (Medium detached).
3. Solar Thermal Panels
Npower also offers solar thermal panels. Partnering with installer ecofirst, Npower solar SP can install two types of solar panels:
- Flat-plate collectors enclosed within a glazed, insulated box. In effect, this acts as a mini-greenhouse to retain heat within the collector.
- Evacuator tube collectors have parallel tubes, each one containing a glass thermal absorber.
In both types, the "collectors" absorb solar energy and transfer it into thermal energy.
Due to the cut to the Feed-in Tariff scheme, Npower has stopped taking new enquiries for solar panels.
4. Reward and loyalty schemes
For business customers, Npower offers a rewards scheme that can give them discounts on a range of services, including entertainment, such as cinema vouchers, and discounts at restaurants. Businesses can sign up for Npower Business Rewards when they have a Npower business tariff.
For domestic customers, the supplier offers free annual membership to a leisure scheme called Take Time. Customers can get discounted deals on restaurants, travelling, hotel reservations and health and beauty services. Npower customers simply have to log in to their account to sign up for the membership.
Npower has a range of different contact details depending on why you need to get in touch with the supplier. Head to our full Npower contact guide for a breakdown of all the different contact details you might need.
For quick reference, we have included the main Npower phone number, email address and postal address in the table below.
|Phone number (existing domestic customers||800 0733000 or 330 100 3000 (Monday-Friday:8am-8pm; Saturday: 8am-6pm)|
|Npower address||npower, PO Box 177, Houghton le Spring, DH4 9AQ|
If you experience a power cut, it is likely not Npower’s fault so your best bet is to report it to 150, not Npower. This service will put you through to your local Distribution Network Operator who can help you get your service back up and running.
Npower business and domestic customers need to let the supplier know if they are planning to move house or business premises. You will be able to cancel your supply or arrange for a Npower supply to be set up at your new address. Find out how to let Npower know and what information you need to provide in Selectra’s Npower moving home guide.
All things considered, we give Npower a rating of 2/5 stars. This score is based on price, customer reviews, fuel mix and extra features that enhance the customer’s experience, or lack thereof.
We know that Npower has taken a nosedive, with customers leaving at higher rates than ever before, and we can’t really blame them. The business has been announced as unsustainable and will soon not exist. While customers won’t be left in the lurch by this, as they will be transferred to E. ON and will not see their energy supply disrupted in any way, cheaper deals and better customer service are offered by other suppliers. Call us today on 07104 468120 to discuss your options.
Scottish Power Selectra score - ★★