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British Gas, OVO Energy, EDF and Utilita rated for services – she who’s best | Personal Finance | Finance

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Britain’s worst energy firms in terms of customer service have been named and shamed as EDF and Utilita.

The damning verdict has been issued by Citizens Advice which said customer service standards across the energy sector have fallen sharply.

It said customer service ratings across the industry were among the lowest ever between January and March and average ratings had fallen by 10.5 percent compared with the same period in 2021.

Citizens Advice was contacted for help with energy issues by record numbers of people last month and it has called for the industry regulator, Ofgem, to be handed stronger powers to tackle poor customer service.

The research showed EDF Energy had received the lowest star rating out of 16 household suppliers last quarter, at 2.06 out of five. People complained that average call waiting times have increased from just under a minute to more than five minutes in less than a year.

Utilita was rated second worst, although its 2.08 rating was an improvement from the previous quarter, while British Gas, the UK’s biggest energy supplier, received a rating of 2.39.

By contrast, Ecotricity, a green energy supplier, was rated highest at 3.77, beating Outfox the Market and Ovo Energy.

The ratings are calculated using data on complaints, call times and response times to customers by email and on social media.

The charity said there had been an improvement in average call waiting times after guidance was introduced by Ofgem in December.

The regulator now requires suppliers to contact customers if they miss two monthly or one quarterly payment to check if they are struggling with their bills and consider repayment options.

However, companies performed badly on their ability to resolve customer complaints, which brought overall ratings down.

Clare Moriarty, the chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “When millions are struggling to afford the essentials, it’s completely unacceptable that energy companies are failing to give their customers proper support.

“Citizens Advice has long called for Ofgem to be given stronger powers to hold suppliers to account on customer service. That must include tackling the complaints backlog before next winter.”

The poor customer service comes on the back of sky high prices triggered by Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine. On a positive note, the industry price cap will fall by £122 to the equivalent of £1,568 a year based on typical use from July 1.

Miss Moriarty said: “News that bills are dropping slightly from July will be cold comfort for the record numbers seeking help from our advisers. The next government must introduce better targeted energy bill support for those struggling to keep the lights on or cook a hot meal.”

EDF said: “We recognise our call answer times haven’t been up to the high standards we set ourselves and are committed to doing better, getting back to the market-leading service our customers expect.”

A spokesperson for Utilita said: “We must not underestimate how savvy consumers are today. They will realise the star rating contradicts other market-wide supplier assessments – including those of Ofgem, Trustpilot and Which? – where Utilita performs consistently well.”



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