First Utility has ranked favourably in the latest Which? league table of energy companies, smashing its way into the top 6.
The independent gas and electricity provider ranked third place in the annual league table of best and worst energy companies, which was compiled by leading consumer campaign group Which? and generated by customer ratings. It was beaten by just the Co-Operative in second place and Ecotricity, which topped the tables with just 1.93 complaints per 1000 customers.
Energy companies are ranked not just by the number of complaints they receive, but also on their value for money; customer service standards; accuracy of bills, and energy-saving methods. The annual league table is part of Which?’s plan to secure fairer and more valuable energy deals for customers, whilst highlighting the flaws and failures of the Big Six.
Indeed, the six largest energy providers in the UK were left drooping towards the bottom of customer ratings, with SEE, British Gas and E.ON each racking up between 27 and 33 complaints per 1000 customers. EDF recorded 46.14 complaints per 1000 and nPower was crowned the worst of a bad bunch, with more than 83 complaints per 1000.
Overall, the table shows clearly that when it comes to customer satisfaction rates and value for money, it is independent and green energy companies that govern the customers’ good books. The results are part of a long-running trend that has emerged since 2012, when Which? first asked the major six suppliers to publish information on the number of complaints they received each year.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said:
“Yet again, millions of customers are being let down by poor service from the big six energy companies, and this has to change. If they want to improve the low level of customer trust in the energy market, suppliers must up their game now, rather than wait for the results of a competition review.”
First Utility is still a relatively young company to enter the energy market, founded in 2008 as a spin-off from First Telecom. It does not generate its own electricity, but instead purchases it from international markets before packaging it up in affordable dual-fuel tariffs.
The company’s market share is a mere 1%, but nevertheless is regarded as the largest provider of energy outside of the Big 6. In the Which? energy company league table, First Utility received five stars for accuracy and clarity of billing, and four star ratings for its value for money and energy-saving investments.
Dale Vince, founder and chief executive of table-topper Ecocentricity, commented that smaller energy companies may indeed face difficulties in maintaining their level of customer service as number of customers grows. However, he added that these problems are likely to be “short-lived”, as unlike the big six providers, customer complaints received were not based on systemic problems with the companies treat customers.