Who are the UK’s best and worst energy companies?

Believe it or not, there’s more to energy switching than simply finding the best energy deals to cut the cost of your gas and electricity bills.

Although getting the best-priced tariff is usually the main motivation when households switch energy supplier, the latest Which? research on the best and worst energy suppliers once again highlights the importance of choosing a provider that not only offers value for money, but also good customer service, along with clear and accurate billing.

So, how does your energy supplier measure up? Will it be one of the best energy suppliers or will fall short of expecations?

*Between 1 July and 31 December 2020, people who have switched energy supplier for both gas & electricity with Uswitch saved an average of £216

The UK’s best and worst energy suppliers survey

To find out what consumers regard are the best energy company in the UK, this year's annual Which? study took in the opinions of around 8,000 UK gas and electricity customers.

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The survey included ratings for 25 energy suppliers that work across England, Scotland and Wales, with separate review for six energy suppliers that operate in Northern Ireland.

It asked consumers to rate their energy suppliers’ based on the following:

  • Customer service (both online and over the phone)
  • Ability to deal with complaints
  • Value for money
  • Accuracy and clarity of bills
  • Ability to help customers understand and reduce usage.

If you’re a loyal customer of the Big Six energy companies, then you might want to look away now - all of the traditional big energy firms placed towards the bottom of the table, with Npower and Scottish Power emerging as the worst.

If that comes as a surpirse, it's worth knowing that the big firms have been scoring poorly for a number of years now, so it might be worth switching to a smaller supplier when your current deal is coming to an end.

Who are the UK’s best and worst energy suppliers?

Price is often the most important consideration when choosing an energy supplier to switch to. The good news is that the top performing energy companies rate highly for value for money. And, as consumers get savvier about savings and energy efficiency, so the top-rated providers also score highly for accuracy and clarity of bills.

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Who are the best energy suppliers in Britain?

Outfox the Market has been voted as Britain's best energy supplier, with ficve-star ratings for bill accuracy and value for money, and an impressive customer score of 83%.

This means that Octopus Energy has been knocked off the top spot for the first time since 2019. It looks like Outfox the Market's lower rates helped it to edge ahead of Octopus, which scored exactly the same in all categories apart from value for money, where it scored four stars out of five.

This left Octopus with an overall customer score of 80%, which was well ahead of Avro Energy in third place. Avro is another supplier - like Outfox the Market - that uses low rates as selling point, but it seems to back this up with good customer service, complaints handling, and clear billing.

The company that took third spot last year - Ebico - ceased trading when Robin Hood Energy went bust. The warning signs were there last year, when Robin Hood Energy dropped from second place in 2019 to 20th place this last year, following the financial troubles that saw it rescued by a £25.5 million taxpayer loan.

Bristol Energy - another local authority-owned supplier - only dropped one place despite suffering similar financial difficulties, but subsequently needed bailing out by another provider when Together Energy acquired its customers.

It's not all bad news for socially-aware energy suppliers though, as People's Energy made fourth spot, swapping with Pure Planet in fifth.

Bulb has dropped down to tenth this year, following a jump from eighth spot to third last year.

It's interesting to note that all of the top five entries are providers that are either ethically or environmentally-friendly or both, suggesting that people are now looking beyond simply cutting their energy bills.

It's also interesting that overall scores have dropped. Last year, an overall score of 73% was needed to be in with a shout of the top 10, this year it's dropped to 69%.

Here’s how the top 10 energy suppliers measured up:

Poisition Supplier Customer score
1 Outfox the Market 82%
2 Octopus Energy 80%
3 Avro Energy 76%
4 People's Energy 75%
5 Pure Planet 74%
6 So Energy 73%
7 Utility Warehouse 71%
= 8 Ovo Energy 70%
= 8 Sainsbury's Energy 70%
= 10 Bulb Energy 69%
= 10 Green Network Energy* 69%

*GNE is no longer trading

Who are the UK’s worst energy suppliers?

The Which? survey has been bad news for the Big Six suppliers for a number of years now, but this year is the worst yet.

Despite dominated the market for decades and having the resoucres and experience to supply more than half of all energy customers in Britain, five of the country's biggest suppliers make up the bottom five positions.

Although technically a Big Five, since Ovo took over SSE, only British Gas avoids making up a clean sweep at the bottom, as E was ranked 20th. The Centrica-owned energy giant has little to celebrate though as it was placed in joint 18th, with Boost.

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2021 is the third consecutive year that all of the big six have been down at the bottom of the table - it seems the UK's biggest energy suppliers aren't learning lessons and taking notes from the high-ranking indpendents.

Here’s how the ten worst energy suppliers shaped up:

Poisition Supplier Customer score
= 12 Green Energy UK 68%
= 12 Utilita 68%
14 Ecotricity 66%
15 Utility Point 65%
16 Bristol Energy 64%
17 Shell 63%
= 18 Boost 62%
= 18 British Gas 62%
= 20 E 61%
= 20 EDF Energy 61%
= 22 Eon 60%
= 22 SSE 60%
24 Scottish Power 55%
25 Npower 54%

After finishing bottom last year, Together Energy dropped out of the rankings completely this year. Together Energy has struggled since it was appointed as supplier of last resort (SoLR) when One Select went bust. This saw its customer base increase by 60% overnight - jumping from 60,000 ot 90,000 - when it successfully bid to take one One Select's customers, despite having just 100 staff in its Dunbartonshire HQ and a further 40 outsourced in South Africa.

It's struggled to successfully handle the extra demand, which rasies questions about Ofgem's safety net - if a company with such a poor record can be appointed as SoLR when a supplier goes bust.

One positive for Together Energy is that it answers calls quicker than any other supplier - taking an average of juts 51 seconds to pick up. For comparison, Boost takes an average of 40 minutes and 58 seconds to answer customer calls.

What if my energy supplier goes bust?

It’s not often that an energy supplier will go bust, but it can happen - this video shows what you need to do if your supplier suddenly stops trading

How to get the best energy deal

The quickest and simplest way to make sure you’re on the best energy deal is to check out the rates available on gas and electric price comparison sites. To compare deals with UKPower, just enter your postcode in the box at the top of the page and, within seconds, we’ll show you the best-priced plans from a whole range of suppliers.

And, because we know there’s more to switching than simply getting the best-priced tariff, when you find a tariff that suits, click on the supplier logo for more information.

Or, if you prefer, give our energy experts a call on 0800 014 2918 and they can find you the best deal with the supplier that’s right for you.

How to switch energy supplier

How to switch energy supplier with UKPower. Simply enter your postcode and we'll compare energy prices from a range of suppliers. You then choose the one you prefer and we'll take care of the rest.


 

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To check out the full results, visit the 2020 Which? energy survey results page.

To check out the full results from 2020, visit the 2020 Which? energy survey results page.

To check out 2019's results, go to the Which? 2019 energy results page.

To check 2018’s results, visit the 2018 Which? energy survey results page.

Click here to run an energy price comparison, and see if you could be paying less for your gas and electricity.

Les Roberts - Energy Expert at UKPower

Les Roberts - Energy Expert at UKPower

If you’ve got an issue with your energy supplier, our consumer champion Les is on hand to help. A decade in consumer affairs means Les understands how confusing energy tariffs can be, so he'll cut through the jargon to help make sure you get the best deal.