Octopus tops energy customer survey as some firms ‘fall far short’

Which? warned customers will vote with their feet and ‘switch away when this becomes an option’.

20 January 2023

Octopus has been named the best energy firm in an annual customer survey amid warnings that consumers will vote with their feet when competition returns to the market.

The energy crisis, which has driven dozens of suppliers out of business, has left consumers largely unable to move between firms after cheaper tariffs disappeared.

A fifth (20%) of energy customers in Which?’s survey were moved to their current supplier when their former one failed – with Shell Energy customers most likely to have experienced this (45%).

The survey of 10,197 members of the public in October and analysis by Which? gave Octopus a top combined score of 78%.

Octopus was the only provider to get a five-star rating in any category, which it received for the usefulness of its information about energy costs.

The firm took on an additional 1.5 million customers from Bulb in December, and Which? said it would be watching to see if it could maintain its performance.

Utilita was in second place with a combined score of 67%.

Scottish Power was the worst-ranked firm in the watchdog’s assessment of supplier practices with a score of 53%.

However, Shell Energy and SSE Energy Services were ranked worst by customers, with scores of 48% and 46% respectively.

Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, said: “While customers are choosing to stay put due to a lack of deals in the energy market, our research has found that some firms are falling far short of meeting their customers’ needs during the cost-of-living crisis.

“Providers must make it as easy as possible for customers to get in touch and seek support when they need it – or customers will vote with their feet and switch away when this becomes an option.”

A Scottish Power spokeswoman said: “While we’re pleased to see the survey recognising the improvements made in our customer service and payment accuracy scores, we’re disappointed that it fails to recognise the extensive support and advice we’ve provided to customers during the cost-of-living crisis, our best practice activities for vulnerable customers, as well as our award-winning customer app.”

An Ofgem spokesperson said: “Energy is an essential service and customers need to have confidence in their energy suppliers. It concerns us that only one supplier got a five star rating from Which? in any category.

“We are committing to driving up these standards, carrying out deep dives into supplier performance and taking robust compliance action where companies fall short. Our next review, looking at customer service, will be published soon.”

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