There seems to be an overflowing basket of complaints about Npower, with some recurring or persisting for years but still meeting the same resolution (or lack thereof).
The Big Six energy supplier has been the subject of constant condemnation and dissatisfaction from consumers and industry authorities alike. However, signs of improvement are still elusive.
Customer satisfaction is among the most vital metrics in the energy industry. Suppliers are ranked via votes tallied by Which?, a trusted consumer group.
Npower ended at the bottom of the Which? survey for the sixth consecutive year.
Scottish Power and Co-operative Energy joined Npower at the lower end of the list. All the Big Six suppliers failed to join the top group, lagging behind medium- and small-sized providers. Three of the six large suppliers were not able to reach the average satisfaction score of 53%.
Npower secured only 41% customer satisfaction rate, which was the lowest among all the listed energy providers in the UK. Scottish Power scored 44% while Co-operative Energy received a 45% vote.
The research involved thousands of respondents who were asked how they viewed their suppliers during a specific period. The people rated the companies based on value for money, customer service, accuracy and clarity of bills, the assistance of the firm regarding energy savings, and complaints handling.
Npower Managing Director Simon Stacey expressed disappointment over the results, saying that the company had been focusing its efforts on enhancing customer service. While several aspects showed an improvement, he recognises the fact that there’s still a lot of work to do.
Stacey cited the drop of complaints from the past year by roughly 70% as a key area that improved after a year.
In 2015, Npower paid £26 million to industry regulator Ofgem’s redress fund following its failure to provide fair treatment for its customers. This amount is the highest penalty imposed ona Big Six firm, with the money divided between the worst-affected customers and most vulnerable in the community.
Looking back at some examples, a two-year customer of Npower wrote a letter of complaint to the CEO Paul Massara regarding her frustrating experience with the firm’s customer service representative. She stated that she spent 1 ½ hours on a call with two staff members to complain about her bills, charges, and unfair treatment.
The lady was taken aback when she received her first bill after more than a year as a Npower customer. She was told she incurred an underpayment of £600, but the firm failed to inform her earlier.
She later switched to another supplier, First Utility, using a comparison website. She was paying significantly lower bills at only £50 per month with a new supplier, yet she was still receiving Npower bills. On top of this blunder, the big firm informed her that her debt ballooned to £1000.
The customer posted her complaint letter on the internet to warn other consumers who are planning to switch to Npower, insisting that the customer experience and expensive bills are the reason not to proceed with the switch.
Several customers also posted scathing comments regarding Npower’s poor customer services on Reviews.io.
One customer complained about his bad experience during a complaint call, saying the representative sounded like they did not care to take notes of his grievance. Npower owed him money due to incorrect estimates and was supposed to receive repayment for it. However, the firm lowered his monthly bills to £11 per month instead.
Dissatisfied with the service, the client switched suppliers, but only after paying a £60 cancellation fee. The customer felt it was unjust for Npower to charge him because he had done nothing wrong and only felt that it was the right time to switch to the cheapest tariff offered by another supplier.
A customer narrated another horrible experience in Reviews.io. They received an email one day with Npower saying they were sorry to see the client leave. The customer complained and found that, after seven months of assuming Npower was supplying their gas, the firm accidentally supplied another home.
On top of this, the customer also received a letter stating that their electricity account was mistakenly swapped to Npower. These errors left a ton of worry to the customer, with them thinking their electricity and gas services would suddenly stop.
The customer has since switched and ended their contract with Npower early.