Outfox the Market came out on top in consumer group Which’s annual energy satisfaction survey, while traditional industry giants like British Gas (CNA.L) and EDF Energy (EDF.PA) were all the way at the bottom.
Outfox, founded in 2017, knocked Octopus Energy off the top spot, rising from nineteenth position last year.
“In a year when millions of people have been living under lockdown and racking up substantial gas and electricity bills, finding a good-value energy supplier that offers excellent customer service has never been more important,” Which? said.
It surveyed more than 8,000 people 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.
It turns out Outfox frequently offers some of the cheapest deals on the market and received a customer score of 82%, 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, but was not named a Which? Recommended Provider as it did not provide enough information on its procedures and was experienced regulatory intervention by the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets.
Following two years at the top, Octopus Energy was second in this year’s satisfaction survey but still achieved an 80% customer score.
It is now one of the UK’s largest energy providers, supplying 1.5 million homes.
Octopus Energy achieved a five-star rating for bill accuracy and four stars for bill clarity, customer service, complaints handling and value for money.
For the fourth year in a row, Octopus was also named a Which? Recommended Provider (WRP), along with digital-only challenger Pure Planet.
Avro Energy rounds off the top three firms, with a 76% customer score. The challenger firm finished in sixteenth place last year but has made improvements and almost nine in 10 (89%) of its customers said they’ve had no issues in the past 12 months.
It received a five-star rating for bill accuracy and four-stars for all other categories including customer service and value for money.
Which? noted that “the rise of challenger energy companies and major acquisitions has meant the end of the traditional energy companies.”
The giants still account for more than half of the energy market but continue to score below average in the survey.
British Gas, owned by Centrica, EDF Energy and Eon (EOAN.DE) make up some of the bottom energy firms.
Npower was the lowest-ranked energy provider with a customer score of just 54%.
While it received three stars for bill accuracy and customer service, customer feedback meant it got two stars for bill clarity and complaints handling and a dismal one-star rating for value for money.
Scottish Power finished second from bottom with a customer score of 55%.
It received a one-star rating for value for money, and two stars for bill clarity, customer service and complaints handling.
Eon finished third from the bottom, tied with SSE, receiving a customer score of 60%.
SSE, which is owned by Ovo, received three stars across most categories but also performed badly when it came to value for money.
Natalie Hitchins, head of home products and services at Which?, noted that “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.
“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,” she added.
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