We asked 584 giffgaff members their thoughts on their current energy supplier value and level of service. It was no surprise to us that the smaller energy supply companies like Bulb, Avro Energy, and Ovo Energy stole the show. According to their customers they offer competitive prices, clear bill structure and put the customer first. While, the “big six” (British Gas, E.ON, npower, EDF,Scottish Power, SSE) struggled. All of which, achieved just 40-66% in our giffgaff member score - which is a combination of satisfaction and likelihood to recommend it to a friend.
Keep reading the first “giffgaff Energy Providers Survey” to find out more on how giffgaff members ranked their energy supplier.
#1 - Bulb
Overview: A smaller supplier with 100% green energy
Bulb is a forward thinking energy provider that cares about the environment. Taking the spot for giffgaff’s most recommended energy supplier, Bulb received a lot of positive feedback from our survey participants. Bulb scored 4.0 out of 5 in transparency. Many customers were happy with the price, with Bulb scoring 3.8 here. Many Bulb customers also appreciated the customer service received from Bulb, which helped them to land a 3.9 out of 5 score.
Bulb generates 100% of the electricity using renewable sources. It’s no surprise then, that the majority of Bulb customers told us that they think Bulb does right for them. Bulb’s approach to fair pricing is also notable. Bulb has a single tariff for all customers, which always has the best possible price they can offer. It can fluctuate, but customers are always given 60 days notice. As a result, Bulb scored 3.9 for a clear billing structure.Get a quote now
#2 - Avro Energy
Overview: A supplier with a focus on simplicity and savings
Avro Energy scored high, falling just under Bulb with a customer score of 98%. Avro puts a focus on savings and simplicity, and this ethos was reflected in the results we received from Avro customers. 79% of Avro customers were happy with their price, which Avro achieves by keeping overheads and marketing costs to a minimum. Starting in 2012, Avro wanted to make sure they kept things simple, so it’s no surprise they scored 3.9 out of five for transparency, and 4 out of 5 for their clear billing structure. Whilst Avro’s website is stripped back and simple, many customers appreciated this approach. Avro received a 4.0 website rating, thanks to the clear, concise delivery of terms, tariffs, and other information provided online.
#3 - Ovo
Overview: A leader in providing a brighter, greener future
Ovo launched in 2009 with a clear goal - to provide green energy and a vision of a brighter future to the masses. Ovo set out to make energy cheaper, greener and simpler. It’s safe to say Ovo has done exactly that, with Ovo customers rating them highly for their transparency and clear billing structure. Ovo received a 3.8 out of 5 score for transparency and 3.5 for a clear billing structure. Many Ovo customers also told us that they feel like Ovo is doing right by them, with them scoring 3.4.
Ovo has three clear tariffs, one for 12 months, one for 24 months, and one variable no-fee flexi plan. Ovo offers 33% electricity from renewable sources as standard, but charges additional £5 per month for customers to upgrade to 100%. Ovo scored 3.5 for price, which shows that whilst they may not have been as competitive as Avro and Bulb, they still outperformed many other suppliers, including the big six.
#4 - Utilita
Overview: A trendy new take on energy with a focus on smart user control
Utilita has done well in the energy industry by being as quick as possible to develop smarter, more customer focused controls. Utilita offers a smart app that lets you top up on the go online, in their app, or via SMS. It’s a unique, refreshing take on the dreaded prepayment meter. This approach works well, with most Utilita customers telling us they do right for the customer. Utilita scored a 3.4 for doing right by customers, and a 3.3 out of 5 for transparency.
They were also praised by customers for their price and clear billing structure, perhaps thanks to the easy app based top-ups. Utilita received a score of 3.2 for both of these elements. Utilita also pushed forward with unique ways to attract the younger users, with Amazon gift cards for students and exclusive access to festivals and gigs. In our study, 47% of Utilita customers were under 35.
#5 - First Utility
Overview: A utility company focused on making smarter moves on tariffs and terms
First Utility takes pride in providing smarter savings, smarter switching, and smarter tariffs. As you’d expect, First Utility offers smart meter instalments and encourage all their customers to upgrade as soon as they join. Whilst these smart features are nice, it’s the price and clear billing structure that caught the attention of many customers.
The majority of First Utility customers we asked were happy with the price and clear billing structure offered by First Utility. First Utility scored 3.8 and 3.9 out of 5 for these two elements, respectively. Many First Utility customers felt that they did right by them, and the majority rated their customer service experience positively. First Utility scored 3.6⁄5 for customer service and 3.5 for doing right by customers.
#6 - EON
Overview: An energy giant in the UK looking to be the best of the big six
EON is the first of the big six to rank on our energy supplier list. Whilst they ranked lower than many of the smaller energy suppliers, they still maintained an above average experience for most customers. EON scored highest in its website rating, with a score of 3.2⁄5. EON also scored 3.1 for customer service. With a bigger budget to put into website development and larger customer support teams, this is what we like to see from such a big company.
However, EON scored less on pricing, transparency, and doing right for customers than the other suppliers above. EON scored 2.9, 2.8, and 2.9 for these areas, respectively. Now that the energy industry is far more competitive in the UK, EON will need to work harder, alongside the other big six energy companies, to regain customer trust and offer more affordable pricing.
#7 - Utility Warehouse
Overview: An energy supplier focused on simplicity, service, and savings
Whilst Utility Warehouse may not have ranked as highly as some other smaller energy suppliers, they did very well in many aspects. For example, the majority of customers rated Utility Warehouse highly for their customer service and transparency. Both of which scored 3.3⁄5 in our survey. Most customers also appreciated their clear billing structure, and the majority believed Utility Warehouse did right by them. This left Utility Warehouse scoring 3.0/5 in these areas.
Just more than half of those surveyed appreciated the prices offered by Utility Warehouse, putting them above five of the big six with a score of 2.7 in pricing and 2.6 in helping customers save money. Utility Warehouse couldn’t quite compete with the most affordable suppliers in this list, but they still delivered reasonable pricing and excellent customer service.
#8 - EDF
Overview: One of the big six learning to do right by their customers
EDF did well enough to outperform the majority of the big six, but they did little to compete further than that. Just half of all EDF customers believed they provided a clear billing structure. Slightly less than half of EDF customers gave a positive rating on EDF’s pricing and most believed they didn’t help them to save money. EDF scored 2.4⁄5 in pricing and 2.3 in helping customers to save.
EDF customers did feel that EDF did reasonably well in customer service, website rating, and transparency. With each of these elements, EDF scored 2.7. So, whilst EDF certainly didn’t offer the best prices, they still put in the funding to maintain good customer support.
#9 - nPower
Overview: A big six energy supplier that is transparent, but isn’t competitive on pricing
Whilst many nPower customers told us that they had a positive experience with nPower’s customer service and using their website, they only scored moderately for their pricing. Thankfully, though, the majority of nPower customers did feel that they were provided with a clear billing structure, and most rated nPower’s transparency positively.
nPower scored a 2.9⁄5 and a 3.2⁄5 for customer service and website rating. They even scored 2.8 for transparency and 2.9 out of five for a clear billing structure. However, it’s clear nPower aren’t doing enough to stay competitive with pricing. nPower scored just 2.5⁄5 for price and helping customers to save money. With some more competitive offers, nPower could have the chance to rank much higher.
#10 - Scottish Power
Overview: A long-running big six supplier struggling to stay competitive
In our survey, Scottish Power customers rated Scottish Power negatively for all aspects. Scottish Power performed worse when it came to price and helping customers save money. They scored just 1.9 and 1.6 here, respectively. Scottish Power also failed to be transparent enough, with the majority rating their clear billing structure badly. Scottish Power scored 2.1 for clear billing structure and just 2.0 for transparency.
Scottish Power didn’t redeem themselves with customer support, either. They scored just 1.9 for customer service and 2.1 for website design. It’s not the end of the road for Scottish Power, though. They recently announced plans to be the first big six company to go 100% green for sourcing electricity, and they’ll be moving towards this vision in the near future.
#11 - British Gas
Overview: The most popular and long standing energy supplier in the UK
Being the most used supplier by far, both in the UK, and in our survey, British Gas are less willing to be more reasonable with their pricing. British Gas scored just 2.3⁄5 for their price and only 2.4 for helping customers to save money. Just half voted British Gas positively for offering a clear billing structure - they scored 2.5 here. British Gas has a lot of weight in the UK, which means they’re still only doing the very minimum; offering a satisfactory experience across the board.
However, British Gas didn’t falter at every hurdle. In fact, they did well with customer support, with over half of British Gas customers rating them highly. They scored 3.2 here. British Gas also received a 3.0 score for their website design and 2.8 for their transparency. British Gas got voted positively by just over half of customers when it came to them doing right by them, too. In our survey, they scored 2.7⁄5 here.
#12 - SSE
Overview: A big six energy supplier struggling to impress its customers
The final of the big six, and the lowest ranking in our survey, SSE struggled to do enough to impress. Whilst they scored comparatively higher (3.4) in customer service in comparison to other big six companies, they did not compete with their pricing. In fact, SSE scored just 1.9 in price, and 2.2 in helping customers to save money. The majority of customers also rated SSE negatively for transparency, with them scoring just 2.4⁄5 here.
With many negative ratings across the board from SSE customers, it’s clear they have much room to improve. It’s not all bad news, though. Although their pricing wasn’t rated highly, SSE did score reasonably high with 3.1⁄5 for offering a clear billing structure.
A shout out to the small suppliers
You’d think that the biggest suppliers would be the most recommended, but it’s almost the complete opposite. In fact, 20% of our survey respondents voted for smaller utility companies. Whilst we couldn’t gather enough data to fairly rank these amongst the rest, if you combine their collective scores, the smaller suppliers rated far higher than many others, especially the big six.
We found that, overall, the average customer score for the smaller suppliers was an impressive 75%. The majority of customers using small suppliers like Octopus, Flow, and Co-operative Energy, gave a positive rating across the board. The majority of scores hit between 3.3 and 3.6, including customer service, price, and transparency. You can see the full scores and see how each supplier mentioned in this article compare in the table below:
- The star ratings and member score are based on a survey of 584 giffgaff members. The member score is a combination of satisfaction and likelihood to recommend it to a friend.
How to save on energy
Whilst switching to a better supplier can be a great way to save money, you can also rethink how you use energy in your home to save even more. You can save money each month by being more thoughtful on when you use hot water, turn on appliances, and use electricity.
Switching to a shower instead of a bath can save money, and spending less time in the shower also helps. Try using less water when boiling the kettle, and consider using a washing up bowl so that you aren’t throwing away warm water when cleaning the dishes.
You can also save money by turning off all appliances and gadgets at the wall. Whilst one device may not take much electricity each day, the number of switched on electronics can really amp up your costs. If you turn chargers off by the wall, switch off your electric oven, and turn off lights when they aren’t in use, you can save a lot over the year.
4 steps to choose your energy provider and the best tariff
Did you know you could save drastically on your energy bill by changing your energy provider? Here are the five steps you need to take to choose the best provider and the best tariff.
Step 1: Learn your current usage
If you learn more about exactly how much gas and electric you are using per month, you will be able to find more accurate comparison deals in the following steps. To find out your usage, take a look at your bills from your energy supplier, log in online, or make notes on how much the kWh usage on your meter changes day by day.
Step 2: Make the switch
Once you’ve learned about which provider is the best for your usage, it’s time to make the switch. It should be fairly easy to do it. If you are currently in the middle of a fixed contract, you may need to pay an exit fee. In some cases, it may be cheaper to pay the fee now and make the switch to a cheaper deal, instead of waiting until the end of your contract.
Step 3: Switch to the right tariff
Each energy provider will offer a set of different tariffs. The one that’s most suitable for you will depend on a number of factors. For example, do you use both gas and energy? Or, do you use electric storage heaters? Factors like these can determine whether to go for a dual fuel tariff or an economy 7 tariff. Learn more about the different tariffs here.
Usually, though, the best tariffs are the fixed rate contracts - these offer fixed rates that won’t change for a specified period. Once your contract is up, you can switch again or change to a better tariff for free.
3 tips for reducing your energy footprint
We all need to do our part to take care of our planet. One of the best ways we can contribute to a brighter future is by reducing our energy footprint. Here are some tips you can use at home.
#1 - Go green
Many suppliers are now offering 100% electricity from renewable sources, which means you can reduce your energy footprint considerably by switching. Some suppliers even offer partly gas from renewable sources, too. We’re still some way away from 100% renewable, so try to use gas less often and replace it with electrical appliances if you are on a 100% renewable sources tariff.
#2 - Turn down the heat
Gas usage is easily one of the biggest contributors to climate change in our homes, but it’s helpful for keeping us warm. You don’t have to turn it off completely, but you can still reduce your gas usage. If you’re cold, wear a sweater first. Make sure your home is well insulated, and close the door of your room to keep heat circulating easier. If you need to turn on the heating, consider using a portable electric heater if only one room is occupied. Alternatively, just turning down the heat one degree can help to reduce gas usage and it can even help you to save money.
#3 - Move to LED bulbs
LED bulbs are more power efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs also usually last far longer, so you’re less likely to be throwing away as much waste. Also, make sure you turn off unused lights and consider installing dimmer switches to lower the power consumption of your lightbulbs even further.