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Revealed: the fastest and slowest energy companies to answer your calls

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
One energy company picked up a customer call in just 10 seconds while one supplier took its time, keeping a researcher on the line for over 30 minutes.

Energy newbie Bulb was quick off the mark as it had an average hold time of just 27 seconds while provider giant E.ON kept users waiting for an average of up to 14 minutes and 18 seconds.

Campaign group Which? made 312 calls to 26 energy companies and found that the single fastest pick up time was from Bulb at 10 seconds. However, the longest wait time was from Spark Energy which kept the user on hold for 30 minutes and 40 seconds on one occasion.

M&S Energy came in as the second fastest provider, taking just 41 seconds on average to speak to someone in customer services, followed by Ebico which took 45 seconds.

Sluggish big six

Four out of the six biggest energy suppliers were shown to be the worst offenders – British Gas was the second slowest averaging a 9 minute and 33 second wait, followed by SSE as the third slowest with an average waiting time of 8 minutes and 18 seconds.

NPower was fourth slowest and only slightly faster, taking 7 minutes and 36 seconds to answer the phone to customer services. OVO Energy came next with a wait of 7 minutes and 32 seconds while Iresa, First Utility and Sainsbury’s Energy took over 6 minutes to answer the phone.

Scottish Power was the fastest of the big six suppliers to pick up the phone, keeping researchers waiting under 2 minutes on average to get through to customer services.

However, the research found it was much quicker to get hold of providers via live chat – if they offered the service (British Gas, Bulb, EDF Energy, Eon, First Utility, Npower, Spark Energy and Utilita). Here it took between 4 seconds with Utilita to 2 minutes and 32 seconds with Bulb. EDF, First Utility and NPower all had average response times of less than 20 seconds.

Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home services, said: “It’s unacceptable that the worst performing energy suppliers keep their customers waiting on the phone for so long.

“If you are unhappy with the service that you’re getting from your current energy provider you should consider switching to another supplier.”

A spokesperson for Spark Energy, said: “As the Which? survey shows, our average waiting time of 5 mins 39 seconds was significantly quicker than many suppliers and an improvement on our performance in 2016. However, it’s disappointing to learn that someone was kept waiting for 30 mins.

“We offer our customers a range of alternative contact methods including live chat with a team of advisors ‘available every time’ Which? used the service during their research. Many of our customers also choose to take advantage of our call-back service at peak times where we’ll get in touch with them at a time of their convenience.”

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