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Challenger Energy Brands Earn Top Marks for Customer Satisfaction


Medium and small energy companies, many of them green, have come out on top of Which?’s annual customer satisfaction survey.

Octopus Energy, which now supplies around 1.4 million households with renewable energy, came in first for the second year in a row, earning an 83% approval rating from its customers. Octopus grabbed five-star ratings for the accuracy of its bills, customer service, and complaints handling.

Ebico, a not-for-profit supplier with around 60,000 accounts, came in second place, with particular accolades for the accuracy of its bills.

Bulb came in third, tied with fellow green supplier Pure Planet. Bulb has grown rapidly, from just 326,000 customers in 2018 to 1.6 million today, but hasn’t compromised customer service as it expanded. Its losses, however, have mounted, reaching £129 million last financial year.

The Big Six fared less well, languishing in the bottom third of the table. Among the energy giants, SSE and E.ON performed the best, coming in joint 24th with smaller brand E. 

With accounts being transferred to ninth-ranked Ovo as part of a £500 million acquisition, SSE customers could see their service improve. However, Ovo also operates bottom three-ranked Spark Energy, after buying the company out in November 2018.

Scottish Power was the worst performer among the Big Six, ranked in the bottom three with just a 51% satisfaction rating. It was surpassed only by number 35, Together Energy, which serves 150,000 customers. Together, which was founded in 2016, was ranked middle of the league last year.

Last week, Together CEO Paul Richards posted a letter on the company’s website, apologising for errors which occurred when customers of failed supplier One Select were transferred to Together. He said taking on those accounts had been a “challenge” for Together and acknowledged “we have been late in processing final bills, our communications have deteriorated, and email response has been slow.”

Robin Hood Energy, Nottingham’s council-owned supplier, suffered the biggest fall in rankings, from second place last year to a mid-tier position. The deterioration in service came as not-for-profit supplier struggled to pay a £9.4 million bill to Ofgem’s Renewables Obligation fund.

Which? surveyed 8,385 adults between 2 October and 30 October 2019, asking them to rate their energy supplier on a number of criteria, including value for money, customer service, bill accuracy and clarity, complaints handling, and digital tools.

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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