Economy Energy has been ranked the worst for customer service among suppliers for a second consecutive quarter following complaints about billing errors and its communication system.
The company’s score of 1.8 out of five in the Citizens Advice customer service table was almost matched by Spark Energy, which dropped 11 places to 18th position with a score of 1.85 for the period from June to September.
One Economy Energy customer was forced to seek help from Citizens Advice after five months of trying to contact the company for an accurate bill.
Other Economy customers reported billing errors when they switched supplier and sought help after they were unable to contact their supplier.
Spark Energy customers also reported billing issues to Citizens Advice as well as problems with how the company collects debts.
One customer reported receiving a bill of £1,500 from Spark for a property they had moved out of.
First Utility rose to the top of the table with a score of 4.4 out of five.
The star rating system is based on a combination of five factors, including how complaints are dealt with and how highly customers rate the supplier’s customer service.
Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: “When it comes to customer service, some energy suppliers appear to be getting worse rather than better.
“It’s encouraging that some companies have made improvements in how they treat their customers, but we’re concerned that customers are still being let down through inaccurate billing or aggressive debt collection practices.
“Energy companies must do more to improve their offer to to consumers. This means dealing with complaints effectively, being easy to contact, and being clear in the bills they send customers.”
With switching energy providers being one of the simplest ways to save money, Natasha Rachel Smith, Consumer Affairs Editor for TopCashback.co.uk, shares some tips on how to find the best energy deal and bring down costs.
Working out your household consumption, for both gas and electricity, can reduce your monthly bills as you are able to be more accurate rather than paying the estimation from your provider.
Use an accredited energy price comparison website to see which providers can give you the best deal, based on your household consumption.
Remember, gas and electricity from the same supplier is not always cheapest. Do your research and look at the cost of both dual fuel and single fuel.
Once you have picked a provider and a tariff, be sure to go through a cashback website.
To keep on track, make sure you do regular meter readings and check every time you receive a bill rather than relying on an estimate.
Changing to online bills could save you up to 10% as online tariffs are often much cheaper.
From turning off your oven a few minutes early – the residual heat cooks your food – to using a steamer so you only use one hob or turning off the lights in empty rooms, small changes can reduce your energy bills to bring costs down.
Finally, be aware of standard variable rate tariffs, which are the out of contract deals your energy provider will move you to once your fixed deal ends and they cost much more. Make a note of when your tariff is up and start to look at the switching process again.
First Utility 4.4
EDF Energy 4.2
Flow Energy 4.15
Utility Warehouse 4.15
Ovo Energy 4
British Gas 3.75
E (gas and electricity) 3.5
Scottish Power 3.1
Green Star Energy 3.05
Co-operative Energy 2.85
Extra Energy 2.55
Spark Energy 1.85
Economy Energy 1.8
Don’t block radiators: Avoid putting the sofa in front of the radiator as it will absorb a lot of heat, preventing it from warming up the rest of the house.
Make a rice sock: You can buy teddies filled with rice and lavender that you heat in the microwave for a minute or so as a hot water bottle alternative.
It’s a pretty efficient way of getting heat into something – certainly more energy efficient than boiling a kettle full of water. But instead of spending £20 on a shop bought one, fill a sock with rice and lavender, tie the end and you have your own hand warmer.
Shut the curtains: Keeping them closed is a clever – and easy – way to keep the warmth locked in. Consider investing in thermal curtains for the rooms you use the most.
They are not that expensive and if you don’t want to replace your current curtains you can just buy the thermal lining and attach it to your existing drapes. This alone can reduce heat loss by up to 25%.
Wrap up warm: It goes without saying but the more layers you have on, the warmer you’ll feel.
Bleed your radiator: ‘Bleeding radiators’ is when you let out air that has become trapped inside. Trapped air causes the radiators to have cold spots, reducing the efficiency of them. You can bleed your radiators yourself.
To do so, follow these steps – 1) Turn on the heating 2) Once your radiators are hot, go and check each one individually to see if all parts of the radiator are warming up 3) Switch off your central heating.
Attach your radiator key (you can buy one at your local hardware shop) to the square bit in the centre of your radiator’s valve. Slowly turn the radiator key anti-clockwise – if gas is escaping you’ll hear a hissing sound. Once there is no more gas, liquid will come out and the valve will need to be closed quickly.
Turning down the thermostat: Turning it down by 1 degree could cut your heating bills by up to 10 per cent and save you around £85 a year according to Energy-uk.org.