Our latest survey finds customer satisfaction with power companies has stalled.
Had a sales rep from a power company phone or knock on your door enticing you to switch retailers? If the answer’s no, you’re likely to be in a minority. Nearly two-thirds of respondents in our latest survey said they’d been contacted by a sales rep in the past 12 months.
A third of respondents had been approached two to three times. An unlucky 10 percent said a rep had turned up on at least four occasions in the past year.
But the persistent sales patter doesn’t appear to be doing anything to improve customer satisfaction in the industry.
Overall performance ratings stalled this year. 73 percent of the 8389 members who participated in our annual survey rated company performance as “good” or “very good”, the same proportion as in 2014. Performance has dropped since 2012 when ratings reached 78 percent.
Become a paying Consumer member to find out which companies rated best for satisfaction.
Two new entrants appear in this year’s survey: Flick Electric and Grey Power Electricity. Become a paying Consumer member to find out what their customers thought.
On several performance measures in our survey, all power companies scored reasonably well.
The majority of respondents were satisfied their bills were easy to understand (81 percent). Most (91 percent) were also satisfied there were convenient payment methods available.
Just over three-quarters (76 percent) were satisfied with the information they got about their power usage.
But ratings dropped for other measures.
Only 56 percent were satisfied their retailer’s pricing plans were easy to understand. 53 percent were satisfied the company helped them select the best plan for their energy use and 51 percent were satisfied their contract was fair.
Just 48 percent thought their retailer was delivering value for money.
Electricity prices rose 3.6 percent in the year to March. Survey results show the cost of power was a cause of concern for many.
50 percent of respondents were “a bit concerned” and 26 percent were “very concerned” about the cost of energy their household used.
Just over half (58 percent) were spending more than $150 a month on power. 57 percent agreed they could heat their home comfortably but felt they paid too much. A third said they’d cut back on heating because of the cost.
Similar to our 2014 results, 64 percent agreed it paid to shop around as some companies offered better deals. However, just 15 percent agreed companies charged households fairly and competition kept charges competitive.
Only 5 percent agreed companies had their customers’ best interests at heart.
Sales reps may have been busy hitting the phones and pounding the pavement looking for new customers. But the proportion of respondents who switched retailers hadn’t increased.
14 percent said they’d switched in the past year, compared with 15 percent in 2014.
Just 6 percent of respondents switched after being contacted by a sales rep. The majority did their own research online – for example, by using our Powerswitch website – or rang retailers to compare prices.
Several respondents commented they’d planned to switch but their existing retailer offered them a discount to stay.
These deals were a cause of frustration for some. “We were approached by another company. We very nearly switched but decided to talk to [our existing retailer] first. Only then did they offer discounts. We were really hacked off but decided to stay because after the discounts the switch wasn't really worth it, [we] had some reservations about the other company and switching was a lot of hassle,” one said.
Asked about propensity to switch, just 13 percent said they were “likely” or “very likely” to switch in the next 12 months. People who were high users or more concerned about the price they paid for power were more likely to indicate an intention to switch.
Our survey took place in May 2015: 8389 Consumer members participated. The survey asked members to rate their satisfaction with their energy provider (electricity or gas). The majority of respondents who had reticulated gas had the same provider for electricity.