NEWS (05/03/2019): npower merging with EonAre you a current npower customer? Be aware that npower has announced they’ll be merging with fellow Big Six supplier Eon Energy, which, similar to npower, is known for high prices and poor customer service.
Owned by the German energy company RWE, npower is one of the biggest gas and electricity suppliers in the UK. Unfortunately, the firm is known for poor customer service and uncompetitive prices. It’s been one of the hardest hit of the Big Six companies when it comes to losing customers and it will soon merge with fellow energy supplier, Eon.
Reviews and customer service
npower is one of the Big Six gas and electricity providers, and unfortunately their reviews reflect that fact. Similar to their main competitors, npower suffers from poor ranking customer service reviews across the board.
Trustpilot is generally known for customer complaints, so as a rule, we advise you to take reviews posted there with a grain of salt. However, even with a full salt cellar there’s no explaining away the atrocious reviews that npower has earned on the site.
Absolutely ridiculous company, literally impossible to get in touch with the business team. Currently on hold for 30 mins. [...] - Ismail with npower
A full 92% of customer reviews are bad, or one star. This is the lowest possible rating on the site. In fact, several reviews lament that Trustpilot doesn’t allow customers to leave a zero star rating. This is reflected in a frankly horrible trustpilot score of .05/10, making it tied with Scottish Power for the lowest ranking among the Big Six suppliers.
Current customers should also be aware that as npower continues their merger with Eon, npower customer service representatives may actually be Eon employees. Although Eon does rank marginally better when it comes to customer service, we’re predicting some months of growing pains.
Which? survey results are similarly dreadful, with npower tied (again with SP) for 28th place out of 30 energy providers in its 2018 survey. They scored 2/5 stars across the board on values such as billing clarity, customer service and value for money. Sadly enough, these low Which? scores actually represent an improvement for npower. In recent years, it has consistently ranked dead last.
Years of consistently poor customer service explains npower’s drop in customers over time. The company was reported to have lost around half a million customers in 2018 alone!
Interestingly, npower’s other brand in 2018, Sainsbury’s Energy, scored much higher across the board on the survey. But before you get too excited, be aware that Sainsbury’s is no longer accepting new customers; its current clients will be supplied by British Gas, which sports reviews nearly as ghastly as npower.
Horrible customer service, keeps sending me wrong invoices and no one’s there to solve this problem - Melika with npower
What makes npower’s customer service so bad? Negative reviews frequently mention poor customer service, long waiting times and unexplained or inaccurate billings. Those issues are fairly commonplace on energy supplier’s review pages, particularly among the Big Six companies, but not to this extent.
Contrary to their to their poor reviews, npower has claimed that they emphasise quality customer service among their employees. Some (but certainly not all) customer comments do indeed reflect those values, mentioning that npower staff are polite.
The bigger problem is that, even if you manage to get one of npower’s better trained staff, you may be waiting quite some time to speak with them! It took an astounding 20 minutes on average for customers to speak to an npower employee. Looking at data from the previous year, only two energy suppliers in the UK recorded longer average waiting times.
Overall, despite npower’s efforts to brush up on customer service and the slight improvement they have managed to achieve, they still score poorly across the board on topics ranging from response time to bill clarity. That leaves them firmly at the bottom of the barrel compared to other gas and electricity suppliers.
Prices and tariff rates
So, if npower’s customer service leaves something to be desired, are their tariff rates their saving grace? There’s a parade of different domestic tariff options offered by npower, but the main ones are their ‘Cap Tracker’ variable tariff and their ‘Price Fix’ fixed tariff.
Apart from their different tariffs, prices also vary by region. Because of the amount of shifting factors, the easiest way to be sure you find the best tariff possible is to give us a call. The below tariff represents the Tariff Information Label of npower’s ‘Cap Tracker December 2020’.
|Region||Elec price per kWh||Elec yearly price||Elec standing charge||Elec TCR||Gas price per kWh||Gas yearly price||Gas standing charge||Gas TCR||Dual Fuel Yearly|
|North East EN||18.40p||£570.40||26.52p||21.52p||4.04p||£505.00||29.21p||19.73p||£1,075.40|
|North West EN||18.36p||£569.16||25.18p||21.32p||4.08p||£510.00||29.21p||19.89p||£1,079.16|
|Merseyside & N Wales||19.59p||£607.29||25.25p||22.56p||4.11p||£513.75||29.21p||20.01p||£1,121.04|
|South East EN||18.73p||£580.63||26.28p||21.82p||4.19p||£523.75||29.21p||20.33p||£1,104.38|
|South West EN||18.89p||£585.59||26.76p||22.04p||4.27p||£533.75||29.21p||20.66p||£1,119.34|
Last updated: May 2019
Looking at their variable prices, npower has some of the most expensive electricity prices in the market. In fact, the average 3 bedroom flat in London could save more than €375 per year! The company also offers fixed rate tariffs, but they are similarly noncompetitive.
Confused about tariff types? Generally, there are two common types of tariffs: variable, where prices change over time due to market conditions; and fixed, where prices are a set amount for an established length of time.
As always, due to looming market uncertainties (not least of which would be Brexit’s effect on energy costs) we at Selectra recommend that you seek out a fixed price for both electricity and gas tariffs. However, npower does not seem to be the best option.
For even more information on npower’s prices check out our full breakdown of their gas and electricity tariff by clicking the link below.
Are you a new or existing Npower customer? You can login to your account via their online portal by clicking the button below. If you haven't yet set up your online account you can click here to sign up. All you need is your account number (found on your bill) and your personal information, such as surname and postcode.
Once you have logged in to your account, you will be able to:
- View and pay bills online.
- Receive free updates about your account.
- Submit meter readings.
- Manage direct debits.
- Update personal information.
npower business energy
In addition to their domestic tariffs, npower also offers business energy solutions. Prices are more variable as compared to their home energy tariffs, depending on the amount of energy use of the company.
Business tariffs from npower are more competitive than their domestic offerings, but they’re still not the cheapest on the market. Their reputation regarding customer service is, unfortunately for them, more or less the same across domestic and business sectors.
Because energy business is more complex than domestic tariffs, if you’re searching for a gas or electricity tariff for your business the best thing to do is to give us a call.
There are plenty of disappointing fuel mixes out there, but npower’s manages to be the perfect storm of outdated information, overly complicated explanations and a plain bad energy mix. Their published fuel mix relies heavily on fossil fuels that are bound to get more expensive over time and negatively impact the environment.
If you aren’t already aware, all UK energy suppliers are required to provide the fuel mix percentages of their electricity tariffs. This is to help consumers make informed decisions about the kinds of energy sources their suppliers use.
Although energy companies are required to provide this information, npower’s current web page still displays their fuel mix from March 2018, meaning more than a year has gone by since their last update. Selectra staff have contacted npower to request up-to-date information, which we will share if/when we receive an update from npower.
The npower web page also lists a separate fuel mix for each of their main tariff options, which is unusual, with the exception of special 100% renewable tariff options. In order to represent their overall tariff, we took the average between their various fuel mixes.
Aside from confusing and outdated information, npower’s energy mix is also disappointing in itself. More than 59% of its electricity is sourced from natural gas, which is considerably higher than the national average of 41%.
Their proportion of coal, at 11%, also exceeds the UK average of 8%. This contributes to their average CO2 emission of 344g/kWh, which is nearly double the national average of 231g/kWh.
Their average of 7% renewables, also known as green energy, is already troubling, but looking at their different tariffs, all but one have a renewable mix of less than 4%! The npower Limited mix has a more respectable, but still far less than the national average of 29%, 19% of renewably sourced energy.
The high amount of fossil fuels and low use of renewables is particularly surprising as renewable energy prices are now comparable to fossil fuels, and renewables are generally better received by customers.
Npower smart meters
Great Britain is going digital! By 2020, the UK Government was originally hoping to have every single household in the country installed with a new, state of the art smart meter. As delays have persisted, it seems clear that the UK will still not have 100% use of smart meters by the target date, and an updated goal has yet to be agreed.
Why get a smart meter? The most important reason is to save money on gas and electricity bills. Smart meters monitor your energy use in nearly real time, which eliminates the need for energy companies to bill you based on estimates. This is important, as estimated bills are almost always higher than ones based on real meter readings.
They also track your gas and electricity use in real time, allowing you to change your habits to save energy and spend less on your electricity and gas bills. These smart meters will come at no extra cost to your family, and will be installed for free by your energy supplier.
Npower has their own unique smart meter design, which is free to all of their customers. However, with npower’s future uncertain as they merge with Eon, it may make more sense for customers to request a smart meter only after switching to a new supplier.
Meter readings with npower
Need to take a meter reading with npower? Don’t worry, it’s a simple process. Click the button below in order to submit your meter reading to npower. You’ll need your login information and npower account number; you can find the latter on your most recent energy bill.
Although taking a meter reading is relatively straightforward, if you’ve never done it before the process may seem confusing. Don’t worry, our meter reading guide breaks down all the details of the entire procedure to make it simple, fast and stress-free!
If you prefer not to use the npower website you can also submit a reading via npower’s smartphone app (read on for more info) or by phone at: 0800 073 3000.
Warm Home Discount
If you’re worried about large energy bills in the colder winter months, you may want to look into the Warm Home Discount. The programme is a government scheme designed to provide a discount to pensioners and other individuals at risk of fuel poverty between October and April.
You’re eligible for the Warm Home Discount if:
- Your electricity supplier takes part in the scheme.
- You or your partner are the official account holder.
- You receive Guaranteed Pension Credit.
If you don’t meet those requirements, you may still be eligible if you receive certain other means-tested benefits. You can apply directly to your energy supplier.
Npower does provide the Warm Home Discount, you can contact them about receiving the discount via the link below.
Although npower’s absorption by Eon throws doubt on many of their offerings, the fact that Eon also offers the scheme bodes well for continued coverage for npower customers.
If you’re sticking with npower or another Big Six supplier to take advantage of the Warm Home Discount, you should reconsider; although smaller independent suppliers may not participate in the scheme, their prices are so much lower that users often report savings that match or even exceed the discount benefits.
You can find even more information about npower’s offering of the Warm Home Discount on our full guide or apply directly with npower.
Finally, with its smartphone app npower manages to shine. It’s available for free for both iPhones and Android smartphones. The app gives npower customers the following benefits:
- Monitor their energy use in nearly real time in kWh, £ or CO2 emissions.
- Notifications when npower requires a meter reading.
- Easily inform npower of moving home directly through the app.
With 4/5 stars on the Apple App Store and 3.6/5 stars on the Google Play Store, the npower app scores higher than other Big Six’s smartphone offerings. Positive reviews often comment on the app’s ease of use, more accurate billings, the ability to track energy use over time and the savings this feature enables.
Works well. Encouraged me to make significant reductions in my use of electricity. Very stable. - John npower app for Android user
The minority of negative reviews frequently cited problems connecting the app to newly installed smart meters.
Even with their recent financial difficulties, npower is still one of the biggest electricity and gas suppliers in the nation. Read on to discover how they got to that point and what’s in store for the future. Npower has already had a rather large list of activity linked with its operation, despite its relatively short history.
npower was formed amidst the wave of privatisation that defined Margaret Thatcher's administration.
Following the privatisation of the energy markets in 80s and 90s, the then-governing electricity supply company, ‘Central Electricity Generating Board’ was split up, creating a chain reaction of foreign investment.
The following timeline shows a little about how this created npower as we know it today:
- National Power (later to be known as npower) was formed.
- Power generation divided between three generating companies across the country ('PowerGen’, who would eventually become Eon, ‘National Power’, and ‘Nuclear Energy’, who would eventually become British Gas).
- National Power was the biggest of the new companies that were formed as a result of privatisation, holding around 52% market share in the UK energy market.
- National Power begins in the supply market by buying ‘Midlands Electricity’.
- The ‘npower’ supply brand is formed.
- Following pressure from German investors, National Power was forced to separate operations into two new companies: ‘Innogy’, which was responsible for UK-based operations, and ‘International Power’, which took control of international operations.
- npower was once again reacquired by German energy giants ‘RWE’ for £3 billion.
- Innogy UK renamed ‘RWE Npower’, or ‘npower’ as we know them today.
In more recent years, npower has suffered from large numbers of their customers switching to cheaper electricity and gas suppliers.
More recently, it was announced that npower would merge with Eon as part of the complex merger of their parent companies, RWE and Eon. Unfortunately, in January 2019 npower announced that as part of the merger they would cut 900 jobs, and that they predicted financial losses for the year even with the job cuts.
Npower is part of Innogy, a European energy utilities company, and trades under that name. If you’re confused, don’t worry, npower is owned by Innogy, which is further owned by the previously mentioned RWE.
As such, the table below represents the opening share price of Innogy SE (trading under XETRA) on the first trading day of each month since October of 2016, the first month share price information is available.
As you can see from the chart above, Innogy prices are on the rise despite npower’s recent business woes. This is because Innogy is a huge multinational conglomerate, and npower is only a small part of their business earnings and strategy.
Careers at npower
Npower claims to invest in young employees and recruits from recent graduates, as well as other technical professionals. Currently they’re seeking to fill the following positions:
- Digital Technical Lead
- Technical Project Manager
- Learning Specialist
If you’re currently searching for a new role, you can also sign up to receive job alerts from the company.
|The Pros||The Cons|
|Well-reviewed mobile app||Terrible customer service|
|Warm Home Discount available||High prices|
|Smart meters available||Confusing and bad fuel mix|
If you’ve read this far, our recommendation shouldn’t come as a surprise: If you are currently a customer of npower, we strongly recommend that you switch to an independent supplier. Perks like the Warm Home Discount and a fairly well reviewed mobile app can’t justify npower’s high prices and some of the worst customer service in the energy market.