Energy crisis 'biggest price shock we've had' says charity chief

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This comes after Citizens Advice revealed that the standard of energy suppliers’ customer service is at its worst since 2017. The poor rating was handed out just days after the energy price cap, which will apply until 31 September 2022, increased by 54 percent, taking the total cost to £1,971 a year. Britons have been expressing their fury at numerous energy suppliers on Twitter, with one user writing: “So energy customer service is an actual s*** show”.

Mike (@warpedpolecat) agreed, writing: “How can a company’s customer service be so consistently appalling?

“Shell energy is the most inept company I’ve ever had to deal with.”

Meanwhile, Paul Faulkner (@Advaloremtax) said: “Worst customer service experience ever in my life with Centerpoint Energy.

“Tried to get the gas turned on. Can’t even give you a 4-6 hour window of time.

“On hold forever. Pathetic.”

A user nicknamed BuildBackBetter2022 (@BBBYetAgain) hit out at British Gas, writing: “British Gas has to be the worst energy supplier in the UK, shocking customer service just impossible to speak to anyone”.

Meanwhile, Hayley Hakansson (@HakanssonHayley) wrote: “OVO Energy I was on hold for over 15 minutes and then you disconnected my call!!!! Terrible customer service.”

Analysis by Citizens Advice found that the highest score for customer service had dropped since the previous quarter, sitting at just 3.85 out of five compared to 3.95.

Between October and December 2020 the highest score was up at 4.40.

The lowest score in the last quarter was 1.70 compared to 2.10 in the previous quarter – a 19 percent fall.

The average call waiting time was more than five minutes, compared to approximately four minutes in the same period the previous year.

Customers with the worst-performing suppliers currently face wait times of around 15 minutes.

The best ranking suppliers included M&S Energy, EDF Energy, Octopus Energy, Affect Energy and So Energy.

The worst-performing suppliers were Utilita, Boost Power, Ecotricity, Good Energy and Ovo, according to the report.

Citizens Advice chief executive Dame Clare Moriarty said: “The drop in customer service standards comes at the worst time possible.

“It’s Ofgem’s job to make sure companies are delivering a good service. But the current system isn’t working.

“A consumer duty focused on making sure customers get good outcomes is what’s needed. With bills expected to soar again come October, there’s no time to waste.”

A Good Energy spokesman said: “We are disappointed with our drop in the Citizens Advice customer service rankings. The last quarter of 2021 was a challenging one for our team and our resources as the energy crisis took hold and we saw many suppliers go bust.

“We are committed to excellent service and it’s more important now than ever.”

Utilita said: “As a company, we really value the fact that the Citizens Advice energy star rating is performed every three months because we operate in a sector where change is constant.

“However, it is also worth acknowledging that the star rating does not fully represent what customers need from an energy supplier today.

“It does not take into account the financial support we provided on almost 200,000 occasions during the reporting period, nor the millions of households that our award-winning Energy High 5 campaign has helped to cut their energy usage.”

Meanwhile, Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said: “We’ve seen a significant increase in customer contact during the energy crisis, with a tendency towards longer calls.

“Couple that with absences from Covid and the recruitment issues many businesses are facing, (and) it was a challenging time.

“We’re working hard to improve performance, and thankfully we’ve already taken great steps forward since these numbers were recorded last year.” has contacted British Gas, Centerpoint, Shell and OVO Energy for comment. 

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