Energy > Our Reviews

GB Energy Supply Review

Robin Bowman

Robin Bowman
Oct 10, 2016


This is one of the many new guys on the energy supply scene; the company was only set up two years ago in 2014 in Preston, Lancs.

And, like many other of the new entrants to the market, GB Energy Supply has quickly established itself as aggressive on prices.

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UPDATE: On November 26 2016 it was announced GB Energy had stopped trading. 160,000 customers are believed to be affected. Here's what to do if your energy supplier goes bust

Like other entrants, it also plans to shake up the market with a new kind of offering to consumers.

Founded by energy sector veteran Luke Watson, the company’s focus is on low prices.

Watson says, “The utilities market is tough and is changing all the time.

"But we have proved that we can compete with the big suppliers and deliver a reliable service and become the UK's cheapest domestic energy provider.

“We also want to simplify this confused market by offering an online product using the latest technology and not punish customers with switching and exit costs."

GB Energy aims to keep its costs right down and grow the business through word of mouth. 

It also pledges to make it simpler for consumers to switch providers, with the motto "It's easy and effortless to switch and save.”

As a smaller and newer business in the energy space, GB Energy is able to focus on keeping down overhead costs down and running a business that’s as efficient as possible.

For the most part this is done by bringing account management online. 

The company stresses that it doesn’t want to spend money on big marketing campaigns, but to rely on building a bigger customer base through word of mouth recommendations.

It also stresses that it is its intention to make switching to the company and away from it as easy and pain free as possible.

Compare energy suppliers on A Spokesman Said to see if one of the smaller providers could save you money.

What do GB Energy customers think?

The problem is that because this company is still relatively small and new it’s difficult to obtain strong data to reach any specific conclusions.

But, anecdotally, it does seem to receive a positive response from customers.

It’s the first time the company has been included in the Which? customer satisfaction survey and numbers of customers surveyed are low.

Even so, initial findings are decent – it came 9th out of the 22 companies examined.

"Competitive rates and good service" was a typical response, quoted by Which?

Yet it’s important to keep in mind that a mere 36 customers were surveyed, due to the relatively low customer base of GB Energy.

Due to a lack of data, there was no assessment of clarity of bills or handling of complaints , but the company received three stars our of five for customer service and a healthy four out of five for value for money.

It’s overall score was 66%.

Which? said: “There weren't enough people to give star ratings for bills, dealing with complaints and helping you save money. 

“GB Energy did well, coming ahead of some of the big energy companies, such as EDF Energy and British Gas. 

“Its best star rating is for value for money, which isn't surprising considering its cheap tariffs.”

Comments from its customers are positive too: 'GB Energy always answers quickly, the staff are very pleasant and follow up.' 

'It's friendly, informative, helpful and it is easy to understand its bills. I am very happy with the service.' 'I receive regular emails with ideas to help save energy.'

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However, A Spokesman Said user, Donald Hadfield, criticised GB Energy for taking money before the supply has begun. He commented: "This company takes money from your account before they even provide you with energy they took a direct debit out twice then when I asked for one back after 5 calls I got it. I've just this week asked for details of my account and charges so I can keep a check on it they said they hope to be up and running by mid November - disgraceful; this company, according to reviews I've read, have not had account services running this year. Don't know how they get away with this."

When we called GB Energy on the 31/10/2016, we had to give up after 24 minutes on hold. Customers on Twitter reported similarly lengthy hold times. 

Use A Spokesman Said's free tool to make a complaint about GB Energy.

We'll make your voice heard. 

Source: GB Energy

 

What about GB Energy prices and tariffs?

The company offers just two simple tariffs.

Premium Energy Saver, which is a standard (variable ) tariff and there’s no exit fee involved, so you can switch from the company at any time with no penalty.

The tariff, being variable, will change, of course, so it’s important to regularly review whether it’s the best price for you, and that will vary according to where you live.

But it is a very competitive price for most customers.

Its features are:

* Premium Day/Night Energy Saver
* Variable Rate Tariff
* Payment by fixed monthly Direct Debit (in advance)
* No fixed term
* No exit fees
* Dual fuel or single fuel available
* Available to two rate (Economy 7) electricity meters
* Enter meter readings online via customer portal

The other tariff is the Fixed 12 Diamond, which features:

* Fixed energy prices for 12 months
* Payment by monthly Direct Debit (in advance)
* No exit fees
* Dual fuel or single fuel available
* Available to single rate electricity meters
* Enter meter readings online via customer portal

Both tariffs offer economy 7 versions, which means you pay less for electricity for seven hours each night, but more during the day. These tariffs can work well for people with storage heaters installed.

For more information on economy 7 meters, visit out economy 7 guide

The GB Energy website boasts that by switching to them you “you could save over £250* on your energy bills.”

Sounds great! Except there’s that little asterisk, which usually means the statement isn’t quite certain.

In this case, GB Energy explains in small print at the foot of the page what the asterisk means: “Actual saving may be higher or lower based on your usage and current supplier and tariff.”

Gee, thanks for that – so, in other words, the £250 figure might or might not be accurate!

That said, GB Energy tariffs consistently feature in the market's five cheapest. Its old Fixed 12 Crystal plan, for example, costing £780, was in the top five for months.

To save money on energy, the best way remains to crunch the numbers. Use our free comparison tool to find a cheaper energy deal

 

GB Energy green credentials

For customers who like to know what efforts a company is making to help the environment, all energy suppliers need now to provide a breakdown of the mix of where their energy comes from.

GB Energy is no exception, but is too young as yet to have agreed on a breakdown.

 

GB Energy price rise - October 2016

On October 14 2016 GB Energy announced the price of its standard variable tariff would rise, on average, by a massive 30%.

It means a typical customer, with average consumption, on the tariff will see bills soar from £820 a year to £1060.

It’s GB Energy's second price hike since the tariff launched in January at the competitive cost of £765 a year.

The provider has written to customers to let them know they have 30 days to switch free of charge.

It's a cunning ploy: luring customers in with a cheap deal at the beginning of the year, before raising prices at an extortionate rate. 

This year, GB Energy also hiked the price of its fixed tariff from £850 to £950. 

 

A Spokesman Said's verdict

Too early to say how well the company can perform if it hits a crisis, such as a billing mix up or similar, but it has a strong proposition – keep marketing costs to a minimum and rely on word of mouth to gain market share.

Whether this will grow the customer case strongly enough to be sustainable in the long term is yet to be seen. 

GB Energy does not pay to appear on comparison sites and offers a stripped down service that aims to be simple and straightforward.

Only good for those who are happy managing their accounts online as it’s clear from the website, the company doesn’t want customers to pick up the phone and call them.

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This review was updated on 17.10.16 and 19.10.16 to include information about price rises; and on 31.10.16 to include call wait times information. 

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