ScottishPower, SSE, Scottish Gas, Outfox – Octopus: Best and worst energy firms for customer satisfaction

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TWO Scots firms have been ranked among the worst energy suppliers in Britain for customer satisfaction.

Glasgow-based Scottish Power and Perth-based SSE both finished in the bottom three in an annual analysis of 25 suppliers.

ScottishPower finished second bottom of the rankings which cover bill accuracy and clarity, customers services, complaints handling and value for money.

ScottishPower was fined £18m by Ofgem in 2016. Billing chaos caused by a new IT system prompted the penalty from the energy services regulator which also admonished it for inadequate complaints handling and unfair treatment of customers.

The utilities giant, which has more than five million customers, was the most complained about energy supplier in 2019 with 8,441 cases referred to the Energy Ombudsman.Inaccurate bills and customer service issues were the most common complaints.

Only npower was lower ranked with a customer score of just 54 per cent, against ScottishPower’s 55%.

SSE got a 66% score with Eon in the ratings conducted by Which? the consumer organisation.

Both Scottish energy companies and npower were the only firms to gain just one star out of five for value for money.

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Outfox the Market knocked Octopus Energy off the top spot in in the annual energy satisfaction survey, while the traditional industry giants languish at the bottom of the rankings yet again.

The original big six energy firms – British/Scottish Gas, EDF Energy, Eon, Npower and Scottish Power plus SSE made up six of the bottom eight energy firms in the analysis.

More than 8,000 people were surveyed in September 2020 about their experiences with their energy provider across a range of categories including bill accuracy, customer service, complaints handling and value for money.

Outfox the Market, which was founded in 2017, finished at the top of the table, rising from 19th position last year.

The consumer organisaton said the small energy provider frequently offered some of the cheapest deals on the market and received an “impressive” customer score of 82 per cent, with five-star ratings for billing accuracy and value for money.

It had the highest proportion of customers (93%) that experienced no issues in the last 12 months.

Octopus Energy, which finished second, achieved a five-star rating for bill accuracy and four stars for bill clarity, customer service, complaints handling and value for money.

Natalie Hitchins, head of home products and services at Which?, said: “Year after year, challenger and small energy companies outperform the traditional providers in our satisfaction survey – delivering better customer service and offering excellent value for money.

“There are impressive energy companies, from small firms such as Outfox the Market to rapidly expanding companies like Octopus Energy, so customers do not have to put up with substandard service from any provider.

“Anyone unhappy with their provider should do their research and consider switching to one that can offer a better experience overall – you could save more than £150 a year.”

In March, ScottishPower faced an inquiry by the energy regulator in the walk of a dossier of complaints from angry customers.

Ofgem opened a “compliance case” and warned the company could be fined millions of pounds if it does not improve its services.

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The watchdog says it had become ‘increasingly concerned’ about the supplier’s “resolving of critical issues”, adding: “We have seen slow complaint resolution times leading to customer dissatisfaction, and have been concerned with the lack of ability to identify, understand and resolve the root causes of known issues to prevent further similar complaints.”

Ofgem also said it was “disappointed with the lack of progress made by Scottish Power” in reducing complaint resolution times and the volume of referrals made to consumer bodies.

ScottishPower got just two stars for bill clarity, customer service and complaints handling in the Which survey.

SSE, which is owned by Ovo, received three stars across most categories but also performed badly when it came to value for money and achieved just one star in this category.

ScottishPower and SSE were approached for comment.

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