This year only one of 16 suppliers, reviewed for the Which Energy Survey, received a Recommended Provider award.
That means only one achieved the standards and consideration for consumers that might be expected.
I’m not that surprised, given recent experiences I’ve had while attempting to contact the company that came bottom of the league.
Recommended providers are those whose approach helps customers and prioritises things like good customer service and accessibility.
Many of these businesses now opt for online communication as their main means of contact for consumers. That’s fine for those with access to computers and comfortable with digital communication and when there are no complicated problems but what about those who struggle, especially older people and those without smart phones?
Several suppliers are keen to point out they offer a free 0808 number but it’s not unusual to wait 25 minutes for a call to be answered and I’ve come across far too many examples of people being passed from pillar to post.
I recognise the price of energy is rising dramatically due to increases in the cost of gas and oil and that the problem is getting worse because of Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. However, I’m not sure that explains why companies need to put up their standing charges.
How exactly do they relate to rising costs on the world market? Could it be that they’re taking advantage and hope we won’t notice?
Some issues may be beyond the government’s control but people don’t understand why the Chancellor is adding to their eventual bills by loaning money to energy companies which he then expects customers to repay while oil and gas giants enjoy record profits and avoid any windfall tax.
The government needs to look at what more can be done. Ofgem, the regulatory body for Gas and Electricity Markets, are also quite hard to contact by phone and I couldn’t find any details on their website about what they’re doing to improve overall services for customer, particularly accessibility and customer satisfaction.
There’s something very wrong when only one in 16 suppliers can achieve Recommended Provider status.