uSwitch.com: 41% of energy customers are unsatisfied with their supplier

29 October 2008 / by Rachel Mason
The big six energy suppliers have seen an eight per cent drop in customer satisfaction levels in the past year, according to research from uSwitch.com.

In October 2007, 33 per cent of gas and electricity customers said they were not happy with their energy provider – this figure has now hit 41 per cent.

Back in January, npower became the first big energy company to raise its prices, putting gas prices up by 17.2 per cent and electricity up by 12.7 per cent. Soon after, EDF followed suit with similar hikes and British Gas put both gas and electricity up by 15 per cent.

By February, Scottish Power and Eon had increased their rates, and in March, Scottish and Southern became the final of the big six to put up its prices with gas rising by nearly 16 per cent and electricity by 14 per cent.

By August, all six had made further price hikes – on average, household energy bills have soared by a massive 42 per cent this year, which is around £381 per home.

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The price hikes saw many customers struggling to pay their gas and electricity bills, and in response, the Prime Minster unveiled a £910m package of measures with the big energy companies – including half price insulations and price freezes – aimed at helping people with soaring gas and electricity bills.

But according to uSwitch.com, it was all too little too late; nearly half of people are unsatisfied with their energy supplier's service while 55 per cent of people do not believe they are getting value for money and 59 per cent don't think their supplier is even offering them the best available deal.

"Price rises were never going to be a vote winner, but this year’s increases have hit people exceptionally hard and inevitably it has damaged their perception of the industry," said Ann Robinson, consumer policy director at uSwitch.com.

"Sadly this has undone a lot of the hard work suppliers have put in to improving service, setting them back to where they were a couple of years ago."

Ms Robinson says that although suppliers are taking customer concerns seriously and are taking action, consumers have a role to play too.

"If you are not happy that you are on the best deal or getting value for money - speak to your supplier," she said, "if after doing this you are still unhappy with the service you are getting, then it’s time to look around for a new supplier."

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