Avro Energy Review
Avro Energy is yet another smaller supplier launched because its founders spotted chronic problems with the UK energy market.
Whether Avro is the answer to the industry’s problems remains to be seen.
One thing, however, we can say of Avro is that it’s currently one of the cheapest suppliers around.
The Warwickshire-based gas and electricity supplier has only been trading since December 2015.
So it’s relatively new on the block.
Avro Energy's Managing Director, Jake Brown, said: “The Energy Market can often be a frustrating place for consumers; we launched Avro Energy to help rectify these problems in favour of consumers.”
It’s the same message used most of the smaller firms in marketing.
Since it launched, its tariffs have consistently been amongst the most cut-price available.
Its Simple and Fixed plan consistently ranks in the top five cheapest deals on the market and a positive mark in our review. Avro tariffs have the added bonus of no exit fees.
Is Avro Energy cheap?
As always, the best way to make sure you’re not getting overcharged for energy is by using price comparison tools to compare energy suppliers.
Your actual quote will depend on factors including where you live and the size of your house.
Having said that, it’s likely that Avro’s current banner tariff, the Simple and Fixed, will save you money.
The rates are fixed for 12 months and there are no cancellation fees.
The plan is still featured in a host of lists by comparison sites and newspapers of the cheapest deals on the market.
Avro insists you can save £100's a year switching to them and, with the Simple and Fixed tariff costing around £878, the claim does seem to
hold some water.
In fact, when we inputted the details for a house in London with 3-4 people and medium usage and paying by monthly direct debit, Avro quoted us £859* - a saving of £171.36 compared to British Gas's rip off standard tariff.
Avro have faced criticism for its methods before, with critics and Avro reviewers slamming the supplier for taking the first payment from new customers before the end of the cooling off period.
Avro Energy extra charges
Like most suppliers, Avro charges a fee for re-positioning, removing or disconnecting meters.
A bit of research shows that these are largely in line with what other companies charge.
For a meter accuracy test, Avro will charge £120 for electricity and £220 for gas, for example.
There is no mention, however, of whether Avro will remove a faulty meter for free – a service offered by many suppliers.
This might be worth checking with Avro before you sign up.
CUT YOUR ENERGY BILL BY SWITCHING SUPPLIER
Avro Energy customer service
It’s difficult to say how Avro perform when it comes to customer service.
The big concern with smaller providers is that to offer such bargain-basement deals they scrimp and save on staff and infrastructure.
It’s encouraging that Avro offers a UK-based call centre.
The Simple and Fixed tariff has been in the cheap charts for months now, so it’ s likely Avro is piling on new customers.
Whether it can cope with any kind of influx is a major doubt.
Complaints about Extra Energy, another smaller supplier offering budget deals, soared after it added more than 500,000 customers.
Avro can be contacted on 0800 6800 795 from a landline, 0330 0885 754 from a mobile or on [email protected] for emails.
Lines are only open between 9 and 5:30 Monday-Thursday, 9 and 4:30 on a Friday and not at all on a weekend.
So customers that need 24/7 support should steer well clear.
When we called Avro early on Friday morning, and selected ‘new customer’, they picked the phone up in under ten seconds. The wait time was roughly the same time when we selected ‘existing customer’.
There isn’t any Ofgem data on Avro’s complaint resolution so, for now, it’s a bit of an unknown entity.
If you’re with Avro, share your story on a Spokesman Said or make a complaint about Avro.
How green is Avro Energy?
Despite it being an industry requirement, Avro hasn’t yet published its fuel mix disclosure – so it’s difficult to say how green a supplier it is.
On its ‘Energy Saving’ page, Avro lists a raft of measures can take to make their homes more efficient, including: watering plants at night; installing energy saving bulbs; using a smart meter; upgrading the boiler; excluding drafts and turning appliances off.
None of these, however, appear to be services offered by Avro.
And they’re all pretty self-explanatory.
Sustainable energy, then, doesn’t appear to be anywhere near the top of Avro’s agenda.
Avro Energy account
To compensate for its weak opening times on phone lines, Avro points customers towards their online accounts, which they can access 24/7.
From the online account, customers can view quarterly statements, submit meter readings and make additional payments.
As accounts go, though, it’s pretty threadbare and nothing to write home about.
Switching to Avro Energy
Avro is not signed up to the Energy Switch Guarantee, a scheme designed to streamline the switching process for consumers and which most of the major suppliers take part in.
The company says it shouldn’t take longer than 28 days to move your supply to them (including your 14-day cooling off period).
Your supply will not be interrupted, no new pipelines will need to be laid and Avro will contact your previous supplier for you.
If you’re worried about switching supplier, here are eleven terrible excuses for not doing it.
Is Avro Energy in the best of financial health?
A quick search of Avro on Companies House reveals question marks around the company's finances.
The supplier has just £100 of equity capital and to the year-end 14 August 2015 it reported negative net assets.
The supplier’s solvency is fairly important to customers and our Avro Energy review.
In the event the company went bust, customers that paid up front, as unsecured creditors, risk losing their money.
But don't worry, the industry regulator Ofgem will protect you in the unlikely event your supplier did go out of business.
A Spokesman Said’s verdict
* One of the cheapest – if not the cheapest – supplier on the market.
* No exit fees on tariffs
* Uncertainty over additional charges
* Unknown quality of customer service
* Unlikely to be a very green supplier