Npower Energy Review
Like EDF and E.on, Npower is another foreign-owned operator in the UK energy market.
Despite supplying 6 and a half million home and business customers in Britain, this ‘Big Six’ beast is actually owned by German giant RWE.
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The company has had a rough ride at times.
Chaotic billing and abysmal customer service saw it lose 351,000 customers in 2015.
The shambles landed Npower with a £26m fine from regulator Ofgem for treating customers badly.
It has since steadied the ship and remains one of the biggest gas and electricity suppliers on the market, so let us review what it offers.
To see if you could save money switching to Npower, compare energy suppliers from across the market.
Is Npower’s customer service any good?
Npower's customer service is not particularly well reviewed.
In Which?’s 2017 satisfaction survey of 9,000 members of the public, Npower came rock bottom with a woeful score of 44%.
The company was awarded two out of five stars for a range of criteria, including: value for money; customer service; billing and dealing with complaints.
According to Npower's website, billing (43% of complaints) and payment (20%) are the most common gripes.
Billing errors can include unpaid credit built up in the summer months - a chronic problem with the energy industry. Here's what to do if you're owed money by your supplier.
Npower has taken steps to improve performance and the latest Ofgem data shows it receives roughly the same number of complaints as its Big Six rivals.
Bills have been redesigned to clearly show charges and a new app has been launched that lets customers see their payment history and details.
Between January and March 2017, Npower received 2,200 complaints per 100,000 customers; this was better than EDF (2,438), Scottish Power (2,493) and E.on (2,250).
British Gas, which received 1,463 complaints per 100,000 accounts, and SSE, which received 1,929, both performed better in the same period.
Just 49% of Npower complaints were resolved within one working day – the worst results from any of the Big Six suppliers.
Npower customer service can be contacted on 0800 073 3000 and you can use A Spokesman Said's free tool to make a complaint about Npower.
We're in your corner.
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Is Npower cheap?
Suppliers chop and change tariffs all the time to attract new customers, so it’s difficult to say which ones are the cheapest.
That said, if you're looking to save money on your energy bills, it’s unlikely Npower tariffs will be as competitively priced as some of the smaller suppliers.
Npower's standard dual fuel tariff costs an average of £1,077 a year, roughly £200 more expensive than the market’s best deals.
The company does have a positive recent pricing history.
In February, it responded to falls in the wholesale cost of energy by slashing prices by 5.2%
But go back a little further and Npower is more associated with price hikes than reductions.
In January 2014, it reacted to government cuts to green subsidies by raising tariffs by 7.8% - the highest of the Big Six that year.
And in October 2013, Npower price hikes added £139 onto the average dual-fuel customer’s bills.
That's not to say Npower's tariffs aren't worth looking at; currently on offer is the Online Price Fix 18 tariff, which guarantees prices won’t go up until July 2018, but may go down if the standard rate falls.
Top Tip: Big Six suppliers are not known for being the cheapest, but often throw out deals to attract new customers.
SSE, for example, had one of the cheapest deals on the market in August 2016. Its SSE 1 Year Fixed v8 would set the average home back £782.
Use our comparison tools to stay on top of the market, compare energy suppliers and grab the deals when they’re hot.
Npower customer offers
Selected Npower tariffs currently come with a 3-month NOW TV Sky Cinema Pass, giving you access to 1000's of films.
It’s an attractive offer, but worth considering that NOW TV are doing a one-month special Sky Cinema & Sky Entertainment pass for £1.
How green is Npower’s energy?
It’s more and more important to customers how eco-friendly a supplier is.
Let’s take a look at where Npower gets its fuel from (the UK average is in brackets for comparison):
* Coal: 16% (17%)
* Natural Gas: 66% (32.3)
* Nuclear: 1% (23.7)
* Renewable: 16% (24.3)
* Other: 1% (2.5)
Npower’s renewables figure of 16% is OK, if unspectacular; it’s considerably lower than, for example, than Big Six rivals Eon (29%) and British Gas (33%).
The company plans to reduce its carbon emissions by a staggering 80% by 2050, largely by investing in wind power and energy conservation technology.
Npower’s most ethical achievement is its 12-year relationship with McMillan Caner Support.
In 2014 alone, the supplier raised over £500,000 for the charity. A surefire positive note in our Npower review.
It’s worth noting that with a company of Npower’s size, customers do get access to a hefty online infrastructure.
There’s plenty of information on anything from moving home to meter readings – a level of support you might not get at a smaller supplier.
The website is very easy to navigate and a strong online account lets customers view bills, make payments and submit meter readings.
Switching to Npower
Switching energy supplier may seem daunting, but in reality it couldn’t be easier.
Npower is signed up to the ‘Energy Switch Guarantee’.
This means it is the responsibility of the provider you are switching to to handle the switch in under twenty-one days.
Customers have a cooling off period of 14 days to change their mind and stay with their current provider without being charged.
Npower has sped up the process to just 17 days and customers can track the progress of their switch in their online account.
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A Spokesman Said’s Npower review verdict
* Quick and easy switching process
* Decent track record on renewable energy
* Good website
* Poorly-rated customer service
* Tariffs are unlikely to be the cheapest on the market