Ovo Energy has topped the annual Uswitch.com energy customer satisfaction report as figures show a decline in overall satisfaction across the sector for the second year running.

Overall customer satisfaction fell from 74 per cent to 72 per cent, a drop which was “not unexpected” according to the price comparison service.

Price rises were largely to blame for the decrease in satisfaction and with Ofgem recently announcing its price cap on standard variable tariffs (SVTs) was to rise by £117, Uswitch predicts next year’s results to show an “even greater shake-up”.

After questioning 17,000 energy customers the results revealed Ovo Energy (88 per cent) and Octopus Energy (87 per cent) came first and second respectively, while the highest ranked big six provider (SSE) came in at ten with satisfaction score of 70 per cent.

This year is the fourth time Ovo has taken the top spot.

Utility Warehouse took third place while last year’s runner up, Bulb, finished in fourth.

Bulb also won best green services, best deal for you and easiest to switch to.

Outfox the Market came bottom (16th) with a satisfaction score of 64 per cent. It is the first time a supplier outside the big six has been ranked in last place.

Responding to the results Keith Bastian, chief executive of Outfox the Market, said: “An unprecedented number of calls throughout November and December led to a short-term challenge in providing the customer service standards we have always strived for.

“I personally wrote to all our customers at Christmas apologising for the temporary negative effect these increased demands had on our business as usual operations.

“However following the turn of the year we have put measures in place that have seen our service levels return to the fantastic standards we achieved for the vast majority of 2018.”

Although improving its score from last year, Npower was the worst ranked big six provider with a score of 66 per cent and was ranked second from bottom.

The supplier did however win best billing services and best smart meter experience in the large supplier category.

Chris Thewlis, Npower’s customer services director for home and business, said: “Despite our overall ranking in the latest Uswitch survey, it is encouraging to see our ‘overall customer satisfaction’ score increase for the second time running, and this year, we’ve made our biggest improvements in a number of key areas, including energy efficiency, smart meter installs and online services.

“We’re continuing to make improvements in 12 out of the 15 categories year on year, however, we’re far from complacent and, in a tougher retail market, we know we have more work to do to improve our overall ranking.”

Rik Smith, energy expert at Uswitch.com, said: “It’s great to see that more energy customers switched last year than ever before – often choosing smaller suppliers over the bigger companies.

“Challenger suppliers continue to make waves in the industry and outperform the big six for overall satisfaction, as many of them have thrown down the gauntlet to the more established players, offering cheaper prices, easier ways to manage your account, and making their customers feel like they mean more to the company than just someone to send a bill to.

“This year’s winner – Ovo – has invested heavily in its digital offering to make account management easier, as well as offering its customers attractive rewards.

“Companies who can demonstrate a better track record of treating their customers well, alongside attractive prices, will be the winners as consumers look to escape higher bills in 2019.”

Following the publication of the results Justin Haines, customer service director at Ovo, said: “Winning the Uswitch supplier of the year 2019 award is a great honour, but the huge advances we’ve made this year wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of all the team at Ovo Energy.

“We’ve been investing in innovation to continue to develop digital engagement tools for our customers, and the best online experience accolade gives us further confidence that this is the right strategy required to compete in a challenging energy market while meeting our customers’ needs.”

Greg Jackson, chief executive of Octopus Energy, added: “There is no better proof of outstanding customer service than being recommended by your customers.

“Being named most recommended energy supplier is fantastic proof of the difference we are making with cheaper, greener energy and total commitment to customers.”

Rank Energy supplier Overall customer satisfaction score YoY Change
1 Ovo Energy 88.4% +2.0%
2 Octopus Energy 86.7% -8.9%
3 Utility Warehouse 82.9% -6.9%
4 Bulb 81.2% -10.4%
5 The Co-op Energy 81.2% +3.2%
6 Avro Energy 80.6% New entrant
7 First Utility 80.2% -4.8%
8 Utilita 75.3% -5.8%
9 Sainsbury’s Energy 73.0% -3.1%
10 SSE 70.3% -0.2%
11 EDF Energy 69.3% -0.9%
12 Scottish Power 68.9% -1.7%
13 Eon 68.8% -1.1%
14 British Gas/Scottish Gas 66.7% -1.2%
15 Npower 66.3% 1.3%
16 Outfox the Market 64.1% New entrant