Gas and electricity Updated:
Against a backdrop of freezing weather and rising energy prices, a new complaints league table has been launched to help people decide which gas & electricity supplier to choose.
A number of energy providers have found themselves the subject of public fury in recent weeks as gas and electricity prices have increased just as the UK endures some of the coldest weather seen in decades.
British Gas, ScottishPower and Scottish and Southern Energy all announced price rises last month, and the energy regulator Ofgem has since said it will be investigating the price hikes.
To help consumers decide which company they would like to supply them with gas and electricity, Consumer Focus has launched a table that has been compiled by analysing complaints received through Consumer Direct, Consumer Focus and the Energy Ombudsman.
Over the last financial year, the 'Big 6' energy suppliers in the UK received around 4.6 million consumer complaints.
Recent research showed that nearly half of consumers said that having information to compare how companies handle complaints would be useful when deciding whether to switch provider.
Scottish and Southern Energy received the highest score, with four out of five stars, while at the other end of the scale, ScottishPower, EDF and npower were awarded just two stars for their performance between July and September this year.
"We know energy companies are rooted at the bottom of our consumer trust survey," said Mike O'Connor, chief executive at Consumer Focus.
"They have got a lot to do to win the respect of their customers and getting a firm grip on customer service and complaint handling should be a priority in the boardroom of these companies. They should all be aiming to be a five star service.
"Scottish and Southern Energy are the clear leaders, but the difference between energy suppliers is stark when they all sell an identical commodity under the same market rules. Having three suppliers languishing on just two stars is a pretty miserable state of affairs.
"Good service is really important to customers and people want the truth about complaints so they can make informed choices when deciding whether to switch."
New performance data will be published every quarter, and it is hoped that a table detailing the performance of smaller providers will be launched in April next year.
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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