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Energy Supplier Service Ratings


Our approach


There are many ways in which energy suppliers can be rated for quality of service. At TheEnergyShop.com we compile supplier service ratings based on the following.

The underlying principle behind our approach is that when consumers visit an energy price comparison website such as TheEnergyShop.com, they are primarily interested in 2 things;

1. To do a price comparison and

2. To switch energy supplier or energy tariff with minimal hassle.

We, the price comparison website, have full control over the price comparison part of the process.

We also have full control over the energy switch application form. However, once we submit the application to the energy supplier, the energy supplier takes over the switching process.

How effectively the new energy supplier manages the process of taking on new customers is an excellent proxy for overall organisational efficiency. By this we mean that suppliers who are efficient, organised and professional during the switch process will also have efficient systems for billing and servicing customers once the customer is on supply.

We therefore compile our ratings based on the proportion of switches that complete first time. Our data is taken directly from the reports that we receive back from energy suppliers detailing which applications have passed and which have failed. The data is used to calculate a 12 month rolling average for the completion rate. The percentage completion rate is then used to assign the rating.

We understand that there are many reasons why applications can fail. Some are technical (invalid meter configuration), some are meter type related (prepayment meter vs credit meter) and some are driven by the customer (cancellations). However these factors should be fairly common across all energy suppliers and, in the event of cancellations, customers are more likely to cancel an energy switch application for an energy supplier who has handled their application slowly or badly compared to one that has been quick and efficient.

Advantages of our service rating approach

- It is data driven - it is therefore robust and objective

- It is consistently applied across all suppliers

- It is specifically focussed on the consumer looking to switch energy supplier

Dis-advantages of our service rating approach

- It can only cover energy suppliers with whom we have a switching relationship

- It only covers suppliers for whom we have at least 12 months worth of switching data.

Not all suppliers accept prepayment meter customers through our website. As prepayment meter energy switches have a higher drop-out rate than credit meter energy switches this slightly favours those energy suppliers that do not offer prepayment meter switches through our website. We have this under review and in the event that it does lead to a bias we will adjust the rating approach accordingly.


What the ratings mean


Based on applications taken over the preceeding 12 months


TheEnergySho[p.com ]five star service rating

Five stars mean over 95% of applications are expected to complete successfully first time.


TheEnergySho[p.com four star service rating

Four stars means 91 to 95% of applications are expected to complete successfully first time.


TheEnergySho[p.com three star service rating

Three stars means 86 to 90% of applications are expected to complete successfully first time.


TheEnergySho[p.com two star service rating

Two stars means 81 to 85% of applications are expected to complete successfully first time.


TheEnergySho[p.com one star service rating

One star means 80% or fewer applications are expected to complete successfully first time.


TheEnergySho[p.com bo star service rating

No star means that this energy supplier has not yet been rated or there is insufficient data to calculate an accurate service rating.



Please note that, where we have not assigned a service rating to a supplier this is not necessarily an indication of poor performance. It is because we either have no, or insufficient, data on which to base the rating.


Last updated

Service ratings were last updated on 31 March 2016


Alternative service rating approaches


We appreciate that there are alternative ways to allocate service ratings to suppliers. We describe those provided by Ofgem and Citizen's Advice below and discuss the pros and cons of each.

The fundamental issue with the service rating information provided by both Ofgem and Citizen's Advice is that it is predominantly based on complaints data. While this is important it does not affect the vast majority of consumers who switch energy supplier. In fact, It does not affect the vast majority of energy consumers, whether switchers or not. We therefore believe that our approach is more relevant and specific to consumers using price comparison websites to switch energy supplier.


Ofgem

Ofgem publishes 3 separate sets of supplier rating data.


1. Customer satisfaction

2. Complaints received per 100,000 customers

3. Ombudsman referrals


Customer satisfaction

This covers only the large Six energy suppliers and is based on a national panel of 10,000 homes.

Customers are asked the question 'How satisfied are you with the service you get from your current supplier?"

Complaints received per 100,000 customers

This uses complaints data provided by the energy suppliers. It covers 14 suppliers (the Big 6 and the mid-sized independents).

Complaints accepted by the Energy Ombudsman

This data is not compiled by Ofgem but presented on the Ofgem website.

It shows the number of complaints accepted by the Energy Ombudsman (energy supplier complaints which have not been resolved to the customer's satisfaction after eight weeks, or where the energy supplier tells the customer they cannot do any more to resolve the complaint).

It covers the large and mid-tier suppliers only.

It includes complaint data from micro-business.


Citizen's Advice

Citizen's Advice publishes an energy supplier performance league table which compares how energy companies rank on handling complaints.

Their performance model takes complaint data made to the independent bodies - Citizens Advice Consumer Service, The Extra Help Unit, and Ombudsman Services: Energy. It then weights them according to the severity of the complaint, divides them by the number of customers the energy supplier has and expresses this as an index.


Pros and Cons


Ofgem

Customer satisfaction

Pros

Large consumer panel

Ongoing survey

Cons

One simple "subjective" question

Very limited in scope. Covers only the Big 6 energy suppliers

Complaints received per 100,000 customers

Pros

Comprehensive data sourced from energy suppliers

Broader range of suppliers covered

Cons

No coverage of smaller suppliers or new entrants

Complaints not specific to switching

Complaints accepted by the Energy Ombudsman

Pros

Data about complaints that are going seriously wrong

Can highlight if a specific supplier is running into problems

Cons

Overall data sample is tiny compared to overall energy market

Data includes small businesses and can distort the picture for domestic customers

Complaints not specific to switching


The different Ofgem published surveys also lack comparability. They cover different groups of energy suppliers and do not cover the smaller suppliers and new entrants. Across the surveys there is no single, consistent and rigorous approach for a simple aggregate rating.

Citizen's Advice

Pros

Broader range of suppliers covered (20)

Cons

New entrants not covered

Data and results are literally incomprehensible