M&S Energy Review
M&S Energy is, of course, one of the many new kids on the block.
All of these work on a simple premise – cut costs by keeping their offering simple and by cutting all the clumsy and expensive back-end support of the big operators.
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M&S Energy also adds another ingredient to the mix in that it trades on the M&S brand, widely perceived as reliable, as providing good customer service and no-nonsense products.
This is very much the recipe M&S Energy is offering.
The reality is that anyone switching to M&S Energy will actually be supplied with gas and electricity by SSE (read our SSE review for more), one of the largest energy suppliers in the UK with over 9.5 million customers.
M&S Energy is designed, as they say, to “Bring hassle-free electricity and gas into your home", we explore that claim in this review.
SSE is a trading name of SSE Energy Supply Limited which, together with SSE Generation Limited, is part of the SSE group.
SSE Generation Limited generates more renewable electricity than any other company in the UK.”
So, in this case little does indeed also mean large.
Find out if an M&S Energy gas or electricity tariff could save you money by comparing energy suppliers now.
How renewable is M&S Energy?
As for green credentials, well, anyone influenced by these might want to give pause for thought.
Being a leading green producer of energy is a relative term. That said, an increasing number of UK households are looking to choose a green energy tariff.
All energy suppliers have to provide information about the mix of fuels they use to generate energy, together with its environmental impact.
Here’s the breakdown of where M&S gets its energy from, with the UK average in brackets:
M&S Energy fuel mix:
Coal: 25% (17)
Natural gas: 35& (32)
Nuclear: 7% (24)
Renewable*: 29% (24)
Other: 4% (3)
* Wind, hydro and solar power.
So, what could be described as ‘green’ makes up 29% of the mix - ahead of the national average and a large proportion compared to other
M&S Energy also make some green undertakings that will impress anyone looking for a supplier.
They promise that their electricity supply will be matched with renewable resources – at no extra cost to the customer - and undertake to generate hydro electric power in Great Britain that’s the equivalent of customers’ electricity consumption from 46 hydro power stations in Scotland.
M&S Energy say this is part of the M&S ‘ethical and environmental’ programme to source responsibly, reduce waste and help communities. A positive mark in our M&S Energy review.
The company has set a target for all its products to have a ‘social or environmental quality by 2020' and is committed, it says, to ‘becoming the world’s most sustainable major retailer and 100% green electricity is an important part of this.’
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The M&S Green Promise
Determined to put green at the heart of the company’s energy offering, M&S Energy promises to donate £13 to fund community energy projects for schools, such as solar panels on schools, village halls and more for every M&S Energy account.
More information about this project can be found at the company’s Community Energy Fund website.
M&S customer service
Contrary to what you might expect from the M&S brand, customer service ratings are middle of the road.
The company’s Which? customer service review score was just 55% in the consumer group's 2017 survey of 9,000 customers, placing it 19th out 23 suppliers.
It scored just three out of five stars for the quality of its billing, helping you save energy, value for money and customer service.
Between January and March 2017, M&S Energy received a fairly high 1,929 complaints per 100,000 customers.
Compared to medium-sized rivals, for the same period, this was worse than OVO Energy (a measly 79 complaints per 100,000 accounts), The Co-op Energy (691) and Utility Warehouse (1,073).
M&S Energy did, however, receive fewer complaints than Extra Energy (3,708), First Utility (2,052) and Utilita (a massive 5,685).
The most common complaints about M&S Energy, according to the supplier, concern customer service, billing, metering and payments.
To make a complaint about M&S, publicise the issue on A Spokesman Said.
You can contact M&S Energy's customer service on 0345 071 9603.
M&S Energy tariffs
Energy prices are, of course, dependent on customers’ location, and while M&S are competitive, they are unlikely to be the cheapest on the market; and therefore not the best bet if you're looking to save money your energy bills.
In fact, research shows they tend to be more expensive than SSE - that is its supplier.
The company has a simple price offering of two types of pricing:
With this tariff, prices will change according to market conditions.
There are no exit fees and you can change your tariff anytime.
This is exactly what you’d expect – you pay a fixed price for the period of the contract.
Good for planning, but you won’t be able to take advantage if prices fall.
Note: M&S Energy is unavailable in the Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Ireland and Northern Ireland.
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One advantage of signing up with a High Street retailer, you might expect, are some goodies. And with M&S Energy, there’s a £40 M&S gift card on offer.
A nice touch, but perhaps not enough in itself to swing the deal. What counts is the cost of the energy and the kind of service you get. Even so, it’s a nice addition.
If you’re more than a fiver in credit at the end of each billing period, they’ll refund the money
Pay by direct debit and, like most companies, you’ll be offered a saving. M&S Energy claim this can amount to up to £80 a year.
Another plus: Paperless billing can result in a further saving of up to £12 a year.
Our M&S review verdict
M&S Energy offers probably what most of us would expect from this brand.
* We like the site. It’s all very clear and straightforward.
* The company is certainly focused on its customers and that’s a big plus, especially when it comes to energy suppliers, many of whom have dreadful reputations for customer service.
* This is a brand we feel is established and that knows how to serve its public, unlike other newbies in the sector who are still a little unknown.
* Billing is clear and easy to understand.
* The signing up process is easy to follow on line.
* Great if a big factor in your choice is a company’s green credentials.
* If you like managing your account on a phone or small tablet, you might be disappointed – there’s no mobile site or app.
The site is clean and simple enough to use on a phone, but it’s not the best. No doubt apps and a mobile site are in the pipeline.
* Not the cheapest offering – but then cheapest is great, until something goes wrong and then customer service matters. It’s your call – what value do you place on each?