Updated: Thu, 24 Jan 2013 11:30:00 GMT

Npower is the worst energy provider

A survey of 10,000 consumers suggests that Npower is the worst energy provider in the UK. But there are better alternatives out there, and as the cold weather continues, it’s still worth switching supplier this winter.


Image © PA

We’ve written before that most households should switch energy supplier on a regular basis – typically once a year. Indeed the average UK household could save roughly £200 a year by switching to the best gas and electricity deal for that home. The savings will be especially large if you have never switched before.

However, as is often the case, price isn’t the only factor to consider when you switch supplier. It’s also important to think about the service you’ll receive. So it’s worth looking at some new research from Which? that looks at what  customers think of their energy provider.

More than 10,000 people took part in the survey and customers were asked to rate their provider for value for money, customer service, complaints handling, accuracy of bills and how they help their customers to save energy.

Here are the results:

Supplier

Customer service

Value for money

Bills (accuracy and clarity)

Complaints

Helping you save energy

Customer score

Good Energy

5/5

3/5

4/5

4/5

5/5

85%

Ecotricity

5/5

3/5

5/5

4/5

4/5

80%

Ebico

4/5

4/5

4/5

n/a

4/5

76%

Utility Warehouse

4/5

4/5

4/5

4/5

4/5

76%

Ovo Energy

4/5

4/5

4/5

4/5

4/5

74%

The Co-operative Energy

4/5

4/5

4/5

4/5

4/5

69%

M&S Energy

4/5

3/5

4/5

4/5

4/5

63%

Sainsbury’s  Energy

3/5

3/5

3/5

n/a

4/5

54%

Scottish and Southern Energy

3/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

51%

Eon

3/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

4/5

51%

First Utility

2/5

3/5

3/5

1/5

3/5

50%

British Gas

3/5

2/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

50%

Scottish Power

3/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

3/5

50%

EDF Energy

2/5

3/5

2/5

2/5

3/5

46%

Npower

2/5

2/5

2/5

2/5

2/5

39%

As you can see that Npower comes bottom of the table. Perhaps that’s not that surprising given that the company was fined back in December for making persistent nuisance calls.

It’s also worth noting that the other large energy providers are at the bottom of the table with EDF Energy, Scottish Power and British Gas all scoring 50% or lower. At the top of the table you’ll find much smaller companies such as Good Energy and Ecotricity.

What’s more important?

In some ways, the Which? survey may make your life tougher not easier. When you compare energy providers you may find that the company with the lowest tariffs scores badly in the Which? survey.

On the other hand, getting more information is normally a good thing. With that information you can decide whether price or customer service is the most important factor for you. And anyway, you might be lucky and find that Good Energy – the company with the highest score in the survey – offers the lowest tariff for your particular household.

And if you found that, say, Npower was £2 a year cheaper than Good Energy, we’d recommend that you pay just that little bit extra for better service from your supplier. Going with the UK’s worst energy provider probably isn’t a smart move.

You may also like the fact that Good Energy produces its own energy from certified renewable sources such as wind and water. As the company then sells this energy back to customers, Good Energy’s prices tend to be more stable than the big boys’.

Ecotricity works in a similar way and says it was the first company to offer green electricity back in 1996. Any profits it makes go back into the funding the creation of new sources of green energy – also called ‘Bills for Mills.’

Switch

If you fancy signing up for a green energy tariff, it’s still worth using an online comparison engine as you can then see all the environmentally friendly deals in one place.

And regardless of whether you’re a ‘greenie’ or you couldn’t care less, it’s still worth switching this winter if you haven’t already done so. If you made the switch today, you could be on a new tariff in the beginning of March. That will give you plenty of opportunity to save some cash before the good weather hopefully comes in the summer.

146Comments
24/01/2013 13:52
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Typical that the big 5 suppliers are in the bottom half of the customer score card!

I know everyone thinks Maggie Thatcher was a legend, and in some ways she was i.e. making the way forward for women in Big Business etc.  But and this is a very big "But" she should never have sold off the Utility Companies for Electricity, Gas & Water.  This was a big mistake as now we see they only care about the bottom line because they use the excuse of "The Share Holders"! Well what a con that was.  The infra-structure they didn't have to spend years and billions of pounds building (they got it all for cheap!) and now we know that non of them invested properly to give us cheaper energy and water for the future and only considering share price and the bottom line! What we really need is a government willing to retrieve back what was sold cheaply and is now not delivering to the people, what we expected and were told it would help our basic need, improve the access to these resources and ultimately a better service was promised 25 years ago, and not extortion of a British Nation. Instead we have price fixing, bills we cannot make head or tail of, and that includes Professional Mathematicians!  A subculture where they operate a  monopoly by the big 5, playing the system and us at the same time! Even the water companies loose 30% of the product before it gets to the customer/end user. Then we are told that we need to use less water. They installed water metres to ensure that pricing can be fixed to amount used, then they increase the price yearly so they can see profit, while telling us they are investing the extra cash, in what I have no idea!!! That must mean they are investing in themselves i suspect!!! (oh expect water shortages and hose-pipe bans by the summer of 2013!)



24/01/2013 14:45
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It's odd that while this country is in recession that every energy supplier is making record profits.

They're all conning bar stewards.
24/01/2013 13:33
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THE ENERGY COMPANIES ARE JUST A CARTEL

 

RUN BY SPIVS JUST LIKE OUR SO CALLED LEADER

24/01/2013 13:49
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All this is very interesting, but what which and this article never seem to mention is the hassle you can have by changing suppliers, it takes too long to switch, you can end up with two sets of bills, and when your present company learns you are switching they then make you all sorts of offers, they bombard you with phone calls and e-mails trying to change your mind. I have changed 4 or 5 times now ,i have never made any savings ever, because every few weeks up goes the price with one company then they all follow so any slight saving is negated immediately.   And we are now charged an administration fee because we change. The companies keep changing the layout of their bills so you cannot understand them unless you have a maths degree.

What happened after our beloved Government bleated on and on about forcing the gas suppliers to give everyone the lowest tarriffs,NOTHING the suppliers just adjusted their pricing so once again we lose and they don't.

24/01/2013 12:15
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Well i'm sat here freezing with BRITISH GAS, and they are certainly not making 'MY WORLD' better.

Their answer to me, from a really bad call centre person, was to send me a leaflet on how to complain to the ombudsman!

24/01/2013 13:24
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EDF are the worst my electric box blew up and took the whole of our street down and i rung them on the friday and they refused to budge till the monday and its so cold and snowing i even had a 9 month old baby and they still said there is nothing they can do till monday they didnt even offer to put us up for the weekend thats insulting !!
24/01/2013 13:27
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I'm with NPower and I agree, I've wasted hours on the phone to them.

 

My advice is to call once, let them ignore you for a few weeks then contact their executive complaints team directly (threaten with the ombudsman).  It takes time but it saves you time and money on calls with them.

24/01/2013 16:32
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We are all being ripped off by energy companies,

Thanks to privatization, Out politicians don't even care,

they just come out with empty promises.

24/01/2013 14:54
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When I moved Npower was the supplier at my new property. I decided to change to Scottish Power as I was with them previously at my old address. I have a key and quantum gas meter, after switching to Scottish Power I received a Debt collection letter from Clients acting on behalf of Npower. They said I owed £28 even though I paid on key and card, If I did not pay straight away I would be taken to court and a further cost of £120 would be added and another 8% per annum and even more on top.

I dont understand that I owe £28 when I prepay for it and I think its unnaceptable that I can now be summons to court bailiffs amd attachment of earnings when it goes into the hundreds of pounds.

24/01/2013 14:21
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Timothy John Yah Yah Yah. Where on earth do you get the idea that everyone thinks that Margret Thatcher( the kids milk snatcher) is a legend. She was a vindictive cow who set about destroying the working class of this country and creating a new class of YUPPIES (loads of money!) and turned a once admired Police force into a private army of thugs. She was as much off her head then as she is now. Totally Ga Ga!!
24/01/2013 13:54
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npower dont even answer the phone ring them and sit on hold for hrs ,example

 they were the supplier of a flat i moved into , i rang them to become a new customer and was on hold over 2 hrs , hung up

 

week later 2 hrs on hold finally got awnsered so i asked about transferering to edf ,  not joining you as you dont answer phone

24/01/2013 13:48
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I am not the least surprised that Npower came last in the survey. I am another  victim of their poor customer service, although they had improved a little in recent times. I swtched from them recently and I am glad to have done so. 
24/01/2013 17:17
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Timothy John Edwards makes a very good point. ALL the Thatcher privatisations were merely taking away (stealing) the resources that had been paid for by ALL the taxpayers and selling them back at giveaway prices to a small minority, most of whom were large companies, who of course, give funds to the Conservative party.

 

EDF  (Electricite de France) is the most blatant. EDF is a NATIONALISED French company who purchased lots of shares in the UK energy privatisation. They, and the French government, probably thought "Those British fools are selling their national heritage, let's buy shares so our taxpayers can benefit".  So they did and they are. Good government by the French - can't blame them for doing it. But it shows how stupid Thatcher and her crowd were.

24/01/2013 14:21
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I have to say I don't disagree. Been with 4 providers in this list, and 3 of them are on the bottom 4.

The worse of the worse was by far npower, and I will never agree to deal with them ever again.

24/01/2013 15:09
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You want to see the price of Calor gas, when your in the countryside you are snookered as they have you by the b---ls and they can charge whatever they want.

Knackered!

24/01/2013 14:50
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its not surprising that EDF have such a low score being french. After years in France I never discovered decent customer service anywhere. I mean ANYWHERE. power companies,phone companies,supermarkets, garages,motorway companies,hospitals, government offices,postoffices. NO one in france gives a damn about customers so its only natural for EDF that the brits should be treated the same.
24/01/2013 13:45
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I am having horrendous customer service from Scottish power, been going on since November last year. Would not advise people to move to them! I dont think I was included in the survey. Unable to speak directly to the Complaints Team - what are they there for?
24/01/2013 15:04
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Since my last comment, I thought I'd go and compare other energy suppliers to my own using the good old Meerkat site. As it turns out, I'd only save up to £10 per month which, given the hassle it would be to switch, I think I'll stick to my current supplier.

Unless you have terrible problems with your actual supply, when it comes down to it, how often do you actually have to have any communication with your supplier?

I think as the comments below and the report above prove, prices are pretty much the same and when one changes, they all change fairly soon after so why put yourselves through the hassle?

24/01/2013 14:13
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Rather than just switch straight away, what people should do is, yes get online quotes and see if you can make a significant saving. Then ring your own supplier asking them how you can cancel your account because you are thinking of going to another supplier, letting them know how much you can get it for elsewhere.

This is what I did with my AA Breakdown insurance. I told them I was going to go with Greenflag and they almost halved my premium to keep me.

Not that you're likely to get a 50% discount on your energy bill but it IS likely they will match your other quote.

24/01/2013 14:42
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Love the thumbs down for commenting on Good Energy and the wind turbines, for those turbine lovers go and check the costs to you the tax payer (assuming that you do work and pay tax) and the environmental impact of making the things, as well as the impact on local wild life.

Total muppets.

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