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Small energy suppliers “delivering poor customer service”

Small and newer energy suppliers are failing to meet decent standards of customer service, according to Citizens Advice.

The charity’s latest customer service league table shows five energy suppliers - Outfox the Market, Eversmart Energy, PFP Energy, Pure Planet and iSupply - achieving an overall score of less than two stars out of five.

 

At the top end of the table, 21 of the 35 firms evaluated now score at least three out of five stars – up from 19 companies out of 34 last time. So Energy was rated best for customer service for the fifth consecutive quarter, followed by SSE and Engie.

 

Citizens Advice is calling on the regulator, Ofgem, to make a number of changes to protect customers:

  • Introduce stronger requirements to become a supplier, including ensuring the management team are fit and proper.
  • Once suppliers enter the market, they should be subject to tougher ongoing monitoring, backed up by swift compliance and enforcement action.
  • Reduce the cost of suppliers exiting the market. Supplier failures in the past year alone have left an estimated £160m in costs like unpaid industry bills that other customers have to pay.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “We have seen too many companies who were completely unprepared to offer acceptable levels of service. A number of these have gone out of business in recent months, leaving customers worried, anxious and in some cases temporarily out of pocket.

 

“The regulator needs to take urgent action by tightening rules around supplier licences, monitoring existing firms more closely and enforcing standards where these aren’t met. Choosing a new energy supplier can be tricky for many people. Our star rating can help people make more informed choices about switching, not just going for the cheapest tariff.”

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