The worst energy companies in Britain revealed

BillIt's a hotly contested title. You have to be committed to all sorts of things, from hiking prices to overcharging. But some companies have put in the graft. They have taken levels of service to new lows, and have been rewarded by hundreds of complaints.

So who are the worst providers?
The worst provider
Top of the list in the league table of shame is EDF Energy. It had to work hard in order to take the title - knocking npower off the top. EDF managed 126.4 complaints per 100,000 customers in three months, managing just one star rating from Consumer Focus. This constitutes the loss of a star in the last three months and an increase in complaints of around 20%.

Other energy companies are just not trying hard enough to fail us. npower's result is actually very good, seeing complaints drop to 82.4 per 100,000 customers, a rise from its position as the worst of the big six to the fourth best, and the gaining of a star in its star ratings. This means it has gone from having a one star rating in December to having three by the end of June.

Even the second worst provider in the list, Scottish Power, saw complaints fall from 103.5 per 100,000 to 89.2 and the gaining of a star rating.

Better companies
Down the other end of the table there was little movement. The best supplier is still Scottish and Southern Energy. It saw its star rating move from four to five and complaints per 100,000 drop to 36.3.

It was followed by British Gas, which retained second place and saw complaints drop from 74.4 to 55.2. Meanwhile third place was kept by E.ON, which saw complaints drop from 99.1 to 71 and its star rating increase from three to four stars.

On the face of it these looks like great improvements among all except from EDF Energy. So should we be celebrating a new era in energy supply?

The big catch
I wouldn't get too carried away just yet. In looking to explain the change Consumer Focus said that the figures all saw a dramatic drop in the number of complaints to Consumer Focus in April. It admitted: "From 1 April Consumer Direct also reduced its opening hours by 29%, this is likely to be a factor in the 25% fall in complaints to Consumer Direct from the previous quarter and the resulting changes to the league table."

Hmm, so these drops should be taken with a couple of handfuls of salt. Complaints may not be down because the companies are cleaning up their act, but because it's more difficult to complain. This hardly constitutes a major leap forward. It just adds insult to injury that you can't get the supplier to do what you need it to do, and then you can't get Consumer Focus on the phone.

It seems that energy companies may still be pulling out all the stops to deliver low levels of services,. Sadly they are no longer getting the recognition for it that they deserve.

So what do you think? Are the figures right? Are energy companies getting better behaved? Or are you still having the same problems you always were? Let us know in the comments.
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