Customer service at the UK’s largest energy suppliers ranked

Good customer service is worth it's weight in gold, especially when something goes wrong, but how do these energy providers compare?

Customer service phone conversations
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While price is arguably the most important factor when choosing a gas and electricity supplier, good customer service (especially if something goes wrong) should be up there too. 

Here’s how the biggest providers rank for customer service, from best to worst:

Octopus Energy

Octopus Energy has recently won Which? Recommended Provider for the fourth year in a row. In 2021, it won Uswitch’s Energy Supplier of the Year award for the second year running, with a customer satisfaction score of 92%.

It came second out of 25 companies in the latest Which? annual survey of energy customers, with a customer score of 80%. Which? found Octopus advisers typically answered the phone in two minutes.

It scores 4.8 on Trustpilot, with 91% rating it excellent and 3% bad. Many of the one-star reviews were about smart meter installation.

OVO Energy

OVO Energy came joint eighth out of 25 companies In the Which? survey, scoring 70%. It typically kept customers on hold for almost seven minutes.

It scores 4.3 on Trustpilot, with 70% rating it excellent and 8% bad. Positive reviews were about smart meter installation, while poor reviews included complaints about inaccurate billing, with customers having to chase for refunds.

Bulb Energy

Bulb Energy came joint 10th In the Which? survey with a score of 69%. It kept customers waiting on the phone for an average of almost 10 minutes.

However, it scores 2 on Trustpilot, which has temporarily closed Bulb Energy to new reviews, with only 100 currently available. Some positive reviews praise its great customer service and fair pricing, while bad reviews include complaints about bill hikes and poor customer service.

It is not fair to judge on such a small pool of reviews, while other suppliers have thousands. So, go by the Which? survey for now, where it scores well.

(MORE: Octopus versus Bulb versus OVO - which is the best?)

EDF Energy

In the Which? survey, EDF came joint 20th, with a score of 61%. It kept customers waiting on hold for an average of 13 minutes.

It scores 4.2 on Trustpilot, with 73% rating it excellent and 17% bad. Some five-star reviews praised its smart meter installation and competitive pricing, while negative reviews mentioned inaccurate billing when switching from suppliers that have gone bust, missed engineer appointments and unhelpful staff.

(MORE: EDF versus ScottishPower)

SSE Energy Services

Now owned by OVO Energy but operating separately, SSE Energy Services scored worse than its parent company in the Which? survey, coming 22nd, with a score of 60%. It typically kept customers waiting on hold for almost 10 minutes.

However, it did better on Trustpilot, scoring 4.5 with 76% rating it as excellent and 11% bad. Positive reviews include comments about its polite and helpful customer care team. Poor reviews mention problems with smart meter installation and slow phone pick-up times.

(MORE: SSE Energy Services versus Shell Energy)

British Gas

British Gas was the highest rated of the traditional big-name suppliers in the Which? survey, coming in 18th place with a score of 62%. However, customers typically had to wait on the phone for 23 minutes. It only received three stars for customer service and complaints handling.

It scores 3.2 on Trustpilot, with 43% rating it as excellent and 29% as bad. However, many reviews are about its homecare plan.

Its newer sister company, British Gas Evolve, scores 2.2 out of a small pool of 480 reviews, with 19% rating it excellent and 66% bad. It is praised for its cheap, easy-to-use tariffs, but some customers say they have been switched from British Gas without being asked.

(MORE: British Gas versus E.ON)

E.ON

E.ON now incorporates npower whose customers have been switch to its new brand, E.ON Next.

E.ON scored 22nd in the Which? poll, with a 60% score, while npower came bottom, with 54%. E.ON typically kept customers waiting on hold for 19 minutes and npower for 21 minutes.

E.ON scores 3.6 on Trustpilot with 49% of excellent reviews and 29% bad, while npower scores 1.2 with a shocking 3% of excellent reviews and 93% bad.

E.ON Next fared much better on Trustpilot, with a score of 4.3, 72% excellent reviews and 10% bad. Satisfied customers were positive about the customer service team and said issues were resolved quickly. Bad reviews include several about switching from npower or E.ON to E.ON next.

Let’s hope that customer service will improve once all customers are on E.ON Next.

(MORE: How to find the best gas and electricity deals)

ScottishPower

Ranked 24th, ScottishPower came second to bottom in the Which? poll, with a score of 55% – though it only kept customers on hold, on average, for two minutes.

It scores 3.5 on Trustpilot, with 44% rating it excellent and 25% bad. Positive reviews talk about knowledgeable and helpful call handlers and quick phone pick-up times. Several bad reviews mention inaccurate billing and a lack of response to complaints. 

It is disappointing to find that only one company ranks highly for customer service out of these big players. Most suppliers offer a very average service to consumers, while a couple of household names perform poorly.

(MORE: How to switch energy suppliers)