British Gas the worst firm for customers from bust suppliers
Missing credit balances, billing delays and poor communication have defined the experiences of customers transferred to surviving suppliers from fallen firms over the past six months amid the escalating energy crisis, via the suppler of last resort process (SoLR).
According to latest survey from MoneySavingExpert.com (MSE) of over 12,000 respondents, very few people caught by the safety net had a good experience, with many left waiting months for credit refunds as well as being ‘left in the dark; about the process.
Customers transferred to British Gas during the SoLR were the least satisfied.
British Gas performed particularly poorly, with a score of minus 56 for overall customer satisfaction.
EDF (-29) and Shell Energy (-32) rounded off the bottom three.
Only two firms – E.on Next and Octopus received net positive feedback with scores of +10 and +17 respectively.
Since last August, nearly 30 energy firms have collapsed, crippled by the lethal combination of soaring wholesale costs and the constraints of the consumer price cap, which prevented firms passing on costs to consumers.
During this period of time, over two million households have been switched to a new supplier they didn’t choose after their previous firm went bust through Ofgem’s SoLR method.
At least 20 per cent of respondents moving to a new firm in September and October last year revealed they still hadn’t received their credit balance back more than three months later.
This figure rose to nine in 10 among customers moved from PFP Energy or People’s Energy to British Gas, who had been waiting more than four months at the time of the survey.
Meanwhile, at least half of those contacting British Gas, EDF and Shell Energy by phone, email or live chat reported difficulties.
Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, said: “Millions have been moved to new firms they didn’t choose, and with the collapse of cheap switchers’ deals, they’ve had little choice but to stay there – often left confused and frustrated by an opaque and inflexible process.”
He further argued energy firms should not “underestimate the impact of these errors on people’s financial and emotional wellbeing,” with households braced for a painful 54 per cent hike in the consumer price cap – raising average annual energy bills to nearly £2,000 per year.
Commenting on the suppliers wallowing at the bottom of the list, Lewis said: “These providers must up their game, and Ofgem must do more to ensure those caught by its safety net don’t end up trapped in it.”