Archives for posts with tag: E.ON

by Deborah Burley

Image by savethejellyrabbit via flickr

Price rises, inquiries and accusations of cartel-like behaviour. It’s hardly surprising that more and more people are looking to smaller energy suppliers – but do they offer a genuine alternative?

The Big Six, otherwise known as ScottishPower, Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), EDF, British Gas, npower and E.ON are the largest energy suppliers in UK.

However, in recent months they’ve each implemented a series of price rises, which has left many households in Britain struggling to pay their energy bills.

Swamping the market, the Big Six supply over 99% of the UK with energy. It may mean that customers are sometimes unaware of other energy companies out there, and are left feeling that there are no alternatives than to hold on tigichht to their existing supplier – price rise or not.

As well as prices increasing dramatically (the average customer’s bill is now 21% higher than this time last year), there have been other struggles for the Big Six’s customers.

The latest consumer survey for energy from uSwitch found that only 58% of people were satisfied with the customer service received from their supplier.

And the energy industry had another shake recently following news that 27% of households had received the wrong energy bill in the last two years. Shortly after this, it was declared the second worst industry for billing.

It was yet another knockback for energy companies, wh are struggling to improve the consumer confidence.

Energy reform


Energy secretary Chris Huhne has recently pledged to improve the energy industry, by allowing a wider competition to develop amongst energy suppliers.

At the latest Lib Dem conference he said Ofgem would have more control over increasing renewable energy and simplifying tariffs billing systems.

He said that: “It is not fair that big energy companies can push their prices up for the vast majority of their consumers – who do not switch – while introducing cut-throat offers for new customers that stop small firms entering the market.

“That looks to me like predatory pricing. It must and will stop.”

It means that smaller energy suppliers will perhaps now have the chance to make an impact on the market, and his opinions may have got people thinking.

Smaller energy suppliers, why switch?

A series of negative stories surrounding the six dominant energy suppliers has given smaller companies a chance to compete and offer the pubic a viable alternative. It means that customers can look outside of the box and decide whether there are other options out there.

Ofgem recently put pressure on gas and electricity suppliers to prove how they calculate energy bills. But, First Utility, for example, is offering its customers free smart meters which automatically take a meter reading every half an hour for accurate bills. It’s their way of proving that their prices can be trusted.

But customers don’t just want a good price for their energy, they’re looking for the extra benefits from their energy suppliers too.

There has been a distinct increase in the sense of social responsibility about where we get our energy from, leaving us more likely to sign up to green suppliers who will relieve our energy guilt as well as our overheads.
Ecotricity, for instance, offers green energy along with lower prices, while Good Energy creates its electricity from renewable sources generated by wind, small-scale hydro and solar power generators around Britain.

EBICo, a not-for-profit company, only offers single-tier gas and electricity tariffs where each unit of energy used costs the same.

The promise of a fixed rate energy tariff  seems to be an attractive one for consumers feeling uneasy about an increased bill. OVO is an example of a smaller supplier offering fixed price plans and it is also offering  paperless bills and tariffs as well as online account management, which is popular among those looking to modernise the relationship they have with their energy supplier and keep all admin waste-free.

What next?                                                                  

At the moment, the ulitmate outcome of this new political attention on the the energy industry waits to be seen. How the energy market might change for the better is still unsure, although some energy suppliers have been making concessions to make bills easier to manage financially.

uSwitch recently supported plans from E.ON to offer customers a reduction on their yearly bill over a two year contract and, with the government’s clearly watchful eye on the gas and electricity suppliers, services may still improve for UK energy users.

For those that aren’t so sure though, and want a change from the biggest energy suppliers, here’s a few of the smaller energy companies worth considering, and their annual price rate:

Supplier

Plan Name

Payment Method

Price

First Utility

iSave Dual Fuel V8

Monthly Direct Debit

£1,032

First:Utility

Smart as Standard V2

Monthly Direct Debit

£1,049

Ovo

New Energy Fixed*

Monthly Direct Debit

£1,050

OVO Energy

New Energy Fixed

Monthly Direct Debit

£1,050

Spark Energy

Standard

Monthly Direct Debit

£1,057

OVO Energy

Green Energy Fixed

Monthly Direct Debit

£1,102

The Co-Operative Energy

Pioneer

Monthly Direct Debit

£1,179

Utilita

Energysaver

Monthly Direct Debit

£1,206

Telecom Plus

Dual Fuel

Monthly Direct Debit

£1,232

Good Energy

Good Energy & Gas +

Monthly Direct Debit

£1,247

EBIco

EquiDual

Monthly Direct Debit

£1,293

Telecom Plus

Dual Fuel

Pay on Receipt of Bill

£1,352

Spark Energy

Standard Plus

Pay on Receipt of Bill

£1,504

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Scott Somerville, from E.ON, talks about why we spend so much of our income on gas and electricity costs:

The posts connected to the uSwitch Quality of Life Index raised an interesting perception that many people seem to hold true but is actually very far from the case.

The notion that we have some of Europe’s highest electricity and gas prices in the UK is wrong – what we do have though, and here’s the important bit, is some of the highest energy use and therefore higher bills than some countries.

This is despite the fact that some of the countries have much lower average temperatures and fewer hours of daylight than the UK but still often manage to use less energy for heating their homes.

But we can change this.

So let’s look at the facts and then take some action. These tables, based on government figures (source: DECC), show the price of electricity and gas around Europe:

Click to see larger image

Click to see larger image

The UK’s near the cheaper end but it doesn’t feel like that when we all get our bills.

There’s a harsh reality we have to face up to. While many people use energy wisely and are very efficient, many of us aren’t. This is despite the fact that with some simple changes and a little effort we can get control of our bills and potentially cut the amount spent every month on electricity and gas. This isn’t just something that’d be nice to do – it’s essential. The reality is global energy prices are set to continue rising that’s why to cut your bills you’ve got to take some action and we can help you every step of the way.

Sounds nice in theory but what do we all need to do?

Insulate: without insulation, you can lose 25% of your heat through the roof and 33% through the walls; with it you could save up to £340 a year.

Moderate: because you can’t see energy, you can’t see it being wasted. That’s why, in the last two years alone, we’ve given out 277,000 energy monitors, and software to enable our customers to track energy usage over time.

Generate: if you’re making energy yourself, then you don’t need to buy it from someone else. That’s why we’re helping customers to take advantage of the Government’s Feed-in Tariff scheme which is designed to kick-start the renewable energy market. If you can afford to invest in solar panels you can actually be paid to generate energy yourself. If you can’t, no problem; rent-a-roof schemes such as E.ON’s SolarExchange can provide solar panels without the need for substantial upfront investment, leaving you to benefit from the free electricity they generate.

We’re working really hard to engage with all our customers to help them make changes to their energy use and their bills. If we can help our customers control their bills and maybe even save a few quid we’ll have more happier customers and at the end of the day that’s good news for you and good news for us.

So don’t waste any more time (or money) take five minutes and head to www.eonenergyfit.com where we’ll help you to create a personalised energy plan to reduce your consumption and save money whether you’re an E.ON customer or not.

Follow E.ON on Twitter @talkingenergy and find us on Facebook /eonenergyfit


Consumer Focus has released its latest quarterly customer satisfaction figures for energy suppliers in the UK. Unlike the annual uSwitch customer satisfaction awards, which asks customers to rate their supplier according to different criteria, the Consumer Focus version rates each supplier according to the number of complaints made.

It’s the fourth quarterly energy complaints league table  by Consumer Focus, and (happily) it shows a decrease in complaints five out of the ‘Big Six’ suppliers, with EDF the only firm to have seen an increase in complaints.

In terms of complaints, Consumer Focus said that the spring quarter ‘saw a general fall in complaints’. SSE retains its crown for the least customer complains and was awarded a five star rating – something that was mirrored in the uSwitch customer satisfaction awards last year.

npower proved the biggest riser, rising to a three-star rating and fourth position on the league table. However, a whopping 19% increase in complaints about EDF Energy saw it awarded just one star, the worst, says Consumer Focus, ‘since npower’s one-star rating last winter’. ‘Its poor performance could be due to the implementation of a new billing system.’

Here’s Consumer Focus’ list of suppliers and their results

Supplier Rating Apr – Jun 2011 Rating Jan – Mar 2011 Rating Oct – Dec 2010 Rating July – Sept 2010
SSE 5***** 4**** 4**** 4****
British Gas 4**** 4**** 3*** 3***
E.ON 4**** 3*** 2** 3***
npower 3*** 2** 1* 2**
ScottishPower 3*** 2** 2** 2**
EDF Energy 1* 2** 2** 2**

Tell us what you think… have you noticed better customer services from your energy supplier? Do you think these results are representative of the energy market you deal with? Leave a comment and join the debate.

See Consumer Focus’ original press release here: http://www.consumerfocus.org.uk/news/new-league-table-shows-mixed-picture-on-energy-complaints