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Better Energy Review

Fred Isaac

Fred Isaac
Sep 21, 2016


The energy market is swamped with smaller suppliers trying to grab a piece of the pie.

One of the new kids on the block is Nottingham-based gas supplier Better Energy.

The company, which has been providing gas since 2011, aims to deliver on its motto of “Same energy, Better price” by stripping energy supply back to the bare essentials.

Tariffs are simple and Better Energy ditches complex discount schemes that they think confuse customers.

Simplicity does not, however, appear to mean scrimping on customer service (a big fear with smaller, cheaper providers).

Better Energy claims 99% of calls in working hours are answered in under a minute.

So does Better Energy live up to its name? Or is it all mouth no trousers?

Let’s find out.


Compare Better Energy deals on A Spokesman Said


Better Energy Tariffs

Better Energy’s tariffs are clear and transparent.

The fixed tariffs have the same unit rate as each other, as do the variable tariffs, and there’s no need to buy extra products to access the best prices.

Standing charges do vary based on how you pay and how you receive you bills.

The company currently has five plans on offer for customers with domestic credit meters:

Online Fixed Aug 17

* Pay by Direct Debit
* Billed by email
* £20 exit fee
* Online account management
* Average annual bill of £390.86

Postal Fixed Aug17

Same as the above, except you receive your bills in the post and the average bill is slightly higher at £410.03.

There’s also no online account management.

Online Saver 7

* Pay by Direct Debit
* Billed via email
* No exit fee
* Variable tariff without fixed prices
* Average annual bill of £461.74
* Online account management

Postal Saver 7

Same as the above except you receive your bills in the post and have no online account management.

The average annual bill is higher at £480.90.

Prepayment Saver 7

* For customers with a prepayment meter
* Average annual bill: £480.90
* Prices not fixed
* No exit fee
* No online account management

N.B: the tariffs were correct at the time of publication but are subject to change. Average annual bill calculated using Ofgem’s domestic average gas consumption, plus specific charges.

Is Better Energy cheap?

There’s little doubt Better Energy’s gas tariffs are competitive.

If you go for the cheapest option (fixed tariff and billed by email), then you’re likely to save some cash – especially if you’re switching away from one of the Big Six.

With the average gas bill usually costing £465, Better Energy’s Online Fixed Aug 17 certainly looks decent value for money.

Because Better Energy is so new on the scene, there’s little price history to delve into.

As ever, the only way to truly find out whether you can save money switching to Better Energy is to crunch the numbers and compare prices using our free tool.


Find out if you could save money switching to Better Energy


Switching to Better Energy

Switching to Better Energy should, promise the company, only take five minutes of your time. 

You just need to decide the tariff you want and then Better Energy will break the news to your old supplier that you’re leaving.

The switching process takes roughly 3 weeks (including your 14-day cooling off period).

Don’t worry, your gas supply will NOT be affected. If you're worried about switching, our guide should set your mind at ease. 

All you have to do is provide an accurate meter reading when requested.

They may be cheap, but does Better Energy deliver on customer service? 

Better Energy customer service

Smaller suppliers often offer top-draw energy deals, but the trade-off can be sub-par customer service.

Better Energy, however, seem to be bucking this trend. 

The company promises that, most of the time, the person who answers the call will handle the query.

This is a big plus for any customer who hates being passed from pillar to post when raising a complaint.

Ofgem data shows that between April and June 2016 Better Energy received 583 per 100,000 customers, resolving 96% of them within one day.

Impressive. 

In the same period, First Utility received 1403 complaints per 100,000 accounts and only resolved 35.77% of them within one working day.

Flow Energy received 681, with just 20% resolved in a day; Good Energy 1026, with a 45% resolution rate and Spark Energy 1052, of which 77% were sorted out in one working day.

Ecotricity, with just 302 complaints per 100,000 accounts, was one of the best performing smaller providers.

But compared to its rivals, Better Energy is performing strongly.  

The company says it has listened to customer feedback on high monthly payments and introduced price reviews, made tariffs clearer to understand and improved the billing process.

A word of warning: to grow, smaller energy suppliers lure in customers with cut-price deals. They’re often unable to handle the number of new accounts, and so customer service nose dives.

This is what happened at Extra Energy earlier in the year.

Whilst Better Energy is performing well now, an influx of new customers attracted by a cheap deal could see service levels deteriorate.

To make a complaint about Better Energy, use A Spokesman Said's free tool

Green credentials

Better Energy doesn’t supply electricity (yet) and buys its gas from the wholesale market, so its energy is unlikely to be no more or less renewable than any supplier.

Apart from a small section on energy conservation, the company makes very little mention of sustainability on its site.

Safe to say, then, that renewable power is not really anywhere near the heart of Better Energy.


Ready to switch and save? Use our free comparison tool to find a fair deal


A Spokesman Said's verdict

Pros:

* Competitive prices
* Strong customer service

Cons:

* Little or no focus on renewable energy
* Limited online account offering