EDF Energy Review
French-owned EDF Energy is, perhaps, best known now for its controversial plan to build a nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
More on this hot political topic later, but first a bit of background about EDF before we delve into the deep end of our EDF Energy review.
The company, which is owned by the French government, is another of the Big Six suppliers, with 5.7 million customers, over 13,000 employees and revenues of £8bn.
It offers competitively priced EDF gas and electricity tariffs and is already the largest generator of low-carbon electricity in the UK.
It's also invested heavily in nuclear power and launched EDF Renewables in 2008.
Over half of EDF’s electrify is sourced from nuclear. It calls this “blue energy”.
The Renewables programme recently launched a 27-turbine wind farm in Teesside.
But EDF’s desire to be seen as eco-friendly has landed them in hot water.
Smaller supplier Ecotricity took EDF to court for the alleged misuse of the Green Union Flag logo.
Let’s take a closer look at EDF and what it has to offer.
But first, see if you could save money switching to EDF or avoiding the big six by comparing energy suppliers.
EDF and Hinkley Point
Just in case you have no idea what Hinkley Point is, or why it’s important, here’s a little summary.
Theresa May has now given the green light for nuclear power point in Somerset, financed by the French and Chinese, who are paying one third of the £18bn cost.
It’s set to begin producing in 2025 and, when complete, will generate 7% of the UK’s electricity.
Critics say allowing foreign governments to build nuclear plants in the UK constitutes a security risk.
And some have questioned whether the deal is a good one for British consumers.
The government has agreed a fixed price of £92.50 per megawatt hour for electricity generated by Hinkley Point.
Consumers must make up the difference if the wholesale price is lower than this.
With wholesale energy costs expected to be far lower than when the government struck the deal in 2013, its estimated Hinkley Point may cost consumers £29.7bn – up from £6.1bn.
Is EDF Energy cheap?
With Hinkley Point out the way, let’s get down into the nitty gritty.
If you're looking to save money on energy bills, is EDF energy cheap?
Generally, the Big Six suppliers are rarely the cheapest on the market.
In a Which? survey of 9,000 energy customers – the biggest of its kind – EDF reviewed a middling 3 out of 5 starts for value for money.
EDF’s recent pricing history suggests the company is happier raising prices than dropping them.
In April 2017 EDF raised gas and electricity prices by 7.2%, in line with the rest of the Big Six.
EDF's standard tariff will cost a hefty £1,069, roughly £200 pricier than the market's cheapest energy deals.
One big positive in our review of EDF’s tariffs is the lack of exit fees, meaning you can switch for free at any time.
So it’s worth crunching the numbers on a price comparison platform to see if you could save switching to EDF.
How do customers rate EDF?
In the Which? survey we mentioned before, EDF came 18th out of the 23 energy companies involved, with a score of 55%.
Nothing to write home about, then.
Nearly 1000 EDF customers awarded the company three out of five stars for: customer service; value for money and billing accuracy.
And although it lost out to smaller suppliers, it was the third best performing of the Big Six suppliers, behind British Gas and E.on.
More encouragingly, a 2015 YouGov poll of 5,100 energy consumers awarded EDF a customer satisfaction rating of 75%, up 1.3% from 2014.
So there are signs the company is going in the right direction.
Is EDF customer service any good?
In Ofgem’s biennial survey of how suppliers handle complaints, EDF fared fairly well.
But despite escaping the kind of criticism levelled at Npower, the industry regulator's report still concluded that EDF had failed to show any significant improvement since 2014.
Between January and March 2017, EDF received the second highest number of complaints per 100,000 customers, at 2,438, of any of the Big Six.
Only Scottish Power, at 2,493 complaints per 100,000 accounts, performed worse.
EDF did resolve an impressive 74% of complaints within one working day – the second strongest performance of the Big Six.
Problems with EDF billing (25%), customer service (15%), metering (14%) and payments (12%) were the most common sources of complaints between January and March 2017.
One common problem is customers being in credit. Here's what to do if you're owed money by your energy supplier.
In 2014, a Daily Mirror investigation into wait times found EDF had an average hold time of 9 minutes 8 seconds.
This was not great, but OK, and both Scottish Power (over 40 minutes) and Npower (over 20 minutes) made customers wait on the phone for longer.
EDF has made attempts to improve customer service.
Between 2014 and 15 it had the highest rate of improvement in Citizens Advice Complaint League Table - but the sheer number of complaints show there is a lot of work to do.
You can contact EDF's customer service on 0800 056 7777 or, if you're unhappy, make a complaint about EDF Energy on A Spokesman Said.
We're in your corner.
How renewable is EDF's energy?
How renewable a supplier's energy is is increasingly important to eco-conscious energy customers, many of whom are looking to choose a green energy tariff.
So let’s take a look at where EDF gets its fuel from – in brackets is the UK average:
Coal: 14.5% (17.1)
Gas: 8.6% (32.3)
Nuclear: 64.3% (23.7)
Renewable: 12.3% (24.3)
Other: 0.3% (2.5)
While it's lagging behind the UK average on renewables, EDF is heavily invested in nuclear.
How green you think it is will, then, depend on your view of nuclear power.
The company also supports a range of scheme – from solar panels to electric cars – to help customers generate their own electricity.
A Spokesman Said’s verdict
* No exit fees on tariffs
* Heavy investment in low-carbon electricity
* Receives high number of complaints
* Far from the cheapest on the market