Ahead of Ofgem’s price cap increase, the latest edition of the Citizens Advice star rating (http://bit.ly/CitizensAdviceStarRating) – which ranks domestic energy suppliers on customer service – reveals that money doesn’t always buy good service.
Citizens Advice analysis shows expensive doesn’t always mean good and cheap doesn’t always mean bad. Of the 20 cheapest deals with energy suppliers, only five tariffs are with suppliers in the bottom third of the star rating table, whereas 10 tariffs are with suppliers in the top third.
With the energy price cap having been increased by £96 to £1,138 from 1st April 2021 for default tariff customers, the charity is encouraging people to consider switching suppliers to get a better deal. Doing so could save an average household up to £200 a year and secure a supplier with better customer service.
Citizens Advice research shows that nearly a quarter of energy customers – equivalent to over six million households – are worried they’ll struggle to pay their energy bills because of the pandemic. With bigger winter bills arriving in the coming weeks for many customers, it’s critical that people are able to easily access support from their supplier. The charity is calling on poor performers in the star rating table to improve their customer service – including tackling billing errors and difficulty in contacting suppliers.
Nicky Willshere, Chief Officer at Citizens Advice Ipswich, said:
“At a time when so many people are facing job losses and financial trouble, it’s unacceptable that energy bills are another source of stress. With the rise in the energy price cap, many will have to pay more and rightly expect a decent service. Suppliers must step up to give their customers what they deserve.
“Everyone should consider whether they are getting value for money from their supplier – paying more doesn’t always mean you will receive a better service. Don’t put up with it if it’s not good enough. Shop around if you can.”
A dad-of-two started receiving high energy bills when the family moved home in May last year, but his energy company didn’t respond when he tried to question the amounts.
“In October, I got a bill for £3,000 too much. I contacted the Citizens Advice consumer service and they helped me put in a formal complaint. The bill was sorted and everything was okay.
“Unbelievably, in January this year, another bill came for £650. I was so shocked. I have been contacting the company since January and no one has called me back or replied to my email.
“I’m so frustrated at the amount of time I’ve spent chasing, and nothing has been done. I thought it had been resolved.”