Energy customers being left on phone for up to 41 mins, Which? finds

Mike Wright
Which found energy customers were waiting up to 41 minutes for suppliers to answer calls - www.alamy.com

Energy customers are being left on hold for up to 41 minutes, analysis by Which? has found. The consumer watchdog tested 36 energy companies with over 400 calls to see how long they took to answer customers' calls.

Which? said the provider which came bottom was Scottish Power, which left customers on hold for an average of 21 minutes.

This was over 20 minutes slower than the fastest company, So Energy, which took just 38 seconds on average to answer calls.

Bulb Energy, which took an average of 19 minutes before calls were answered, had the longest single call waiting time of 41 minutes and 48 seconds. 

Which? calculated it would be quicker for a Bulb customer living 25 miles away in Harlow to travel by train into London’s Liverpool Street station, next to Bulb’s HQ, to make a complaint in person. 

EDF Energy was the best of the Big Six, answering calls in three minutes and two seconds on average.

However, the watchdog found that over a fifth of suppliers kept customers waiting more than 10 minutes before answering.

Natalie Hitchins, Which? Head of Home Products and Services, said: “Energy customers should be able to expect good customer service from their supplier, so it is unacceptable that some people are facing waits of half an hour or more just to speak with an adviser. 

“If you are tired of poor customer service and wasted time on the phone, then you should switch to a provider that can better meet your needs, and potentially save you hundreds of pounds.”

Yet, the results were an improvement from when Which? carried out the same tests last year and found the longest average call answer time was 27 minutes 21 seconds with Spark Energy and the longest single time 72 minutes 40 seconds from Utilita.