Owned by the German company, RWE, Npower boasts around 6.5 million customers in the UK; however, despite its popularity, one of the country’s biggest energy suppliers has worked its way to the top of a league of shamed utility companies. In a study of 8,000 people compiled by Which? consumer group, Npower was named as Britain’s worst utility company – an accolade that is punctuated by reports of “abject” customer service.
Although energy companies tend to attract criticism from consumers, especially off the back of the country’s worst winter in decades, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the so-called ‘big six’ suppliers – British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Scottish & Southern Energy, Scottish Power and Npower – do little to avoid customer dissatisfaction.
Recently, in an apparent move to placate a public that had been growing increasingly frustrated by the rising cost of energy prices, the leading energy suppliers announced gas price cuts of up to 9%, however, the cuts were considered to be too shallow to cause any significant impact on the depth of fuel poverty in Britain. Equally, the energy suppliers attracted criticism by addressing price concerns with a ‘pack mentality’, which all but precludes competition in the domestic energy market. Likewise, the big six are expected to introduce higher tariffs over the coming months, despite the fact that wholesale fuel costs remain relatively low. As such, it is not difficult to see why Npower, which earlier this month reduced gas prices by just 7% (after increasing electricity rates by 14% six months beforehand), has attracted the wrath of its customers.
According to the Which? study, only 27% of Npower’s customers were considered to be satisfied with the service they received from the energy giant, which suggests that a massive 73% of customers are dissatisfied. A spokesperson for Npower said: “Our aim is to see our customers happy, not just satisfied – and we’ve been working really hard to make customer service the focus of our company”. The Which? study also revealed that British Gas scored a satisfaction level of just 37%, whilst Scottish & Southern Energy attracted a 50% satisfaction score.