By Lauren Howells.

Small energy suppliers have beaten the Big Six in Which?’s annual customer satisfaction survey.

The consumer champion carried out a UK-wide survey, asking 8,000 people what they thought of their energy provider. Respondents answered questions regarding areas including value for money, customer service and billing.

The survey revealed that it was the small firms that kept their customers happy that dominated the top of the rankings.

Octopus Energy came out in first place

Five small suppliers came out on top. Octopus Energy came in at first place, with 9 out of 10 of its customers rating it as good or excellent value for money and 96% giving it the same rating for online customer service. Octopus, which supplies more than 400,000 homes, received an overall customer score of 80%.

Octopus Energy is this year’s only Which? Recommended Provider.

Robin Hood Energy, So Energy, Ebico and Tonik Energy were the other firms in the top five.

Small supplier Solarplicity the worst according to customers

According to its customers, small supplier Solarplicity came out as the worst energy firm, with an overallSmall firms come out top in Which? energy survey customer score of 44%. It was also the only provider to receive one-star ratings, including for customer service, both online and on the phone. In addition, three-quarters of its customers said that it was poor or very poor at dealing with complaints.

Big Six energy suppliers appear at bottom third

Out of the so-called Big Six suppliers, none received an overall customer score higher than 58%. British Gas, EDF Energy, Eon, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE were all ranked in the bottom third of the table.

SSE came out at the top of the Big Six and was the only one of the six to receive four-star ratings for its customer service online and on the phone.

Npower and Scottish Power were joint lowest ranked of the Big Six. They were the only two of the six to receive two-star complaints handling rating.

The survey revealed that fewer than one in five (18%) of Big Six customers were very satisfied with their supplier, compared to 33% of customers of small and medium suppliers.

Thirty energy companies in England, Scotland and Wales, were rated by Which? covering more than 90% of the market. Six of the seven companies in Northern Ireland were also included.

“paying the price for not giving customers what they want”

Which? Managing Director of Home Products and Services, Alex Neill, said:

“Our survey shows the importance of value for money and good customer service – energy suppliers delivering both to their customers tend to be thriving, while the Big Six and other poorly-ranked firms are paying the price for not giving customers what they want.

“All energy companies should be working to give their customers competitive prices and excellent customer service.”

Neill advised customers who weren’t getting a good deal to look to switch supplier. He pointed out that switching could potentially save some customers over a hundred pounds and could result in a “much-improved service”.