Which energy company is the most helpful about the feed-in tariff
Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 April 2011 at 9:44 am
Choosing your feed-in tariff supplier is important. Their efficiency, or lack of it, will affect how quickly and accurately you get paid for the electricity you generate, and you don't have to use the same supplier as you use to buy electricity.
A recent blog outlined the questions you should ask before choosing a supplier. We also wanted to find out how helpful the companies are, and how well they explain how the feed-in tariff works to a beginner. So we commissioned a mystery shopping expedition, and asked our shopper to feedback on how easy it was to find the contact information, and how helpful the person who answered the phone was once she got through.
The good news is that she found them all very knowledgeable about the feed-in tariff, and the ranking that follows is based on how easy their explanation was to follow for a complete novice.
Most helpful at explaining the feed-in tariff
1. NPower - definitely the most helpful, patient and spent the most time explaining everything in plain speak
2. Ecotricity - also very knowledgeable, helpful and very willing to go over things again for me.
3. Good Energy - I think they would probably also be in joint 4th place if it wasn't for their fantastic FIT fact file on their website which I was referred to if I needed any further information
4. A tie between Southern Electric, Scottish Power and British Gas. They are too close to pick apart - all very helpful and explained how the Feed in tariff works well
5. EDF - not the most knowledgeable on the phone but they were the only company who sent out an info pack which is incredibly informative
6. E.on - Shame really as I felt the information she was giving to me was 2nd to the big sale on E.on's solar panels and could they give me a quote.
Easiest for finding correct contact information
1. Good Energy - 0845 456 1640
Link right on the home page to 'loads of great information, especially the FIT Factfile, which is laid out in a question/answer format. Link to feed-in tariff section of website appears in Google results.
2. Scottish Power - 0845 270 1414
Fairly straightforward to find contact details
3. Southern Electric - 08450 76 76 34
4. E.on - 0800 015 9590
5. Ecotricity - 0800 030 2302
While navigation to it's feed-in tariff section only requires two clicks, by calling it Microtricity, it makes it difficult to find. It is the only other company whose link appears in search results, but again, by calling it Microtricity many people won't recognise that's what they want to click.
6. npower - 0845 078 2977
Easy to find the feed-in tariff page, but once you're there, the prominent phone number turns out to be the sales department for solar panels, and the number for the microgeneration team is in much smaller print further down the page.
7. British Gas - 0800 107 0187
The home page gave a really obvious energy efficiency tab, with a link to renewable energy, but the phone number given was only for insulation. The number above is for the microgeneration team, but is not advertised on the website. Our shopper had to hold for 18 minutes before it was answered.
8. EDF - 0800 404 9087
EDF makes it very difficult to find any mention of home generation or the feed-in tariff on its website.
This accolade goes to E.on. Our shopper's comment is as follows: "Really informative, but no matter how many times I said I was happy with the quotes I had received for solar PV panes, and that we were going to go ahead with an installer, she kept trying to get me to give E.on a chance to quote. Very annoying. I must have said no thanks at least five or six times, and then she finished the phone call by saying she would put their solar panel brochure in the post."
NB: This article is based on one phone call to each company - so it is a snapshot, rather than statistically significant research.
More information about energy companies and feed-in tariffs from YouGen
Photo by net_efektBy Cathy Debenham
If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.
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