Written by Michael Foote, Insurance and Finance ExpertMichael Foote is the founder of Quote Goat and has over 13 years experience working in the finance, insurance and currency sectors. Since launching Quote Goat he has appeared on TV as well as many of the largest online publications including Forbes, The Telegraph and The Metro. Prior to Quote Goat, he worked in finance in the city for a number of firms including HSBC.
Company Name: Extra Energy
Company Description: Extra Energy supply energy to customers in the UK.
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Who is Extra Energy?
Extra Energy began operating in the UK in 2014. The British arm of German energy company, Extraenergie, it’s seen rapid growth, spurred on by the brand’s commitment to low prices. It’s super low bills are fueled by keeping overheads low, a tactic which held up until recently. Extra’s UK call centre has seen reinforcements drafted in, as staff were struggling to adequately respond to calls, complaints and queries. Despite the measures taken, Extra made headlines in early 2017, when it was named as the ‘worst energy provider for complaints’ by the Citizen’s Advice Bureau. Although these stats were for small businesses, these results mirror findings seen in the residential market.
July 2016 marked the beginning of an Ofgem investigation into Extra Energy. As part of an overall look at the market, the governing body found Extra Energy had broken rules regarding customer service, complaints handling and billing. Ongoing enquiries are being conducted to establish whether Extra breached Ofgem’s Standards of Conduct.
The brand’s mission?
“To generate outstanding cost savings, which we gladly pass onto our customers.”
What does Extra Energy charge?
Extra Energy’s prices are low, but their ‘cheap as chips’ approach to the energy market comes at a price. Their customer service infrastructure has come under criticism and the rapid growth caused by their rock bottom prices hasn’t helped an already rocky situation. That said, if you’re purely looking to save money, it has been hard to beat Extra Energy on price. All that could be set to change though. Extra has topped the tables as one of the cheapest suppliers, but their low tariffs have expired and time will tell if they can maintain their low prices.
Watch out for those exit fees too. If you’re tied in to a tariff it’ll cost you to switch away to another supplier.
How is the Extra Energy customer service?
Extra Energy’s customer service record is very much a mixed bag. From glowing reviews to irate customers blowing off steam and awarding one star, Extra Energy divides opinion. Although, it operates a UK call centre, customers are generally directed to the brand’s online portal.
Long wait times to answer calls may just be the tip of the iceberg. Extra has received the infamous honour of topping many complaints compilation lists and surveys. From the highest number of complaints, to customers saying they wouldn’t recommend the brand, Extra’s struggling to keep its customers happy.
The brand came 22nd out of 23 energy companies in the 2016 Which? Customer Survey (8,917 respondents), receiving a customer score of 49% – the highest being 78%.
Extra Energy claims this is due to rapid growth and that it is working to recruit more staff and generally beef up the call centre operation.
On TrustPilot, the brand has an average score of 3/5, with customer quotes including:
‘Cheap energy but ad hoc billing and long call waiting time. The energy price is enough to compensate for other issues.’
‘I would say I have saved approx. £300 per year by taking my gas and electricity from Extra Energy.’
‘They have some good deals on energy sometimes but their customer service is really bad as is standard for UK companies it seems. Their website is lacking and is quite frustrating.’
What tariffs does Extra Energy offer?
Extra Energy offers customers four tariff options. Lantern and Ember offer fixed prices for 12 months, while Bright and Clear offer fixed prices for 2 years and 3 years, respectively. All tariffs carry weighty cancellation fees. At £50 for single fuel and £100 for duel fuel, the exit fees aren’t cheap.
How green is Extra Energy?
Extra Energy gets its fuel from these sources:
Extra Energy is just a few points ahead of the UK average of 24.3% for renewable energy, so in terms of green credentials, the brand is heading in the right direction. Though, there’s still a heavy reliance on fossil fuels in this mix. It’s worth mentioning that being green isn’t Extra Energy’s focus. Apart from a few standard energy saving tips on the website, it appears Extra is more focused on smart meters than renewables.
Extra Energy in summary?
If you’re after a cheap supplier, Extra Energy could be a cost-saving measure that’s not worth the hassle. If the switch goes smoothly and you have no need to contact customer services, savings are there for the taking. However, with long call waiting times, a customer call centre stretched to its limits and a worrying set of Which? magazine stats, Extra Energy very much comes with a ‘buyer beware’ label firmly attached.
With no discernible extra benefits on offer from this brand, it may pay to switch to a supplier that’s offering either a greener supply or is showing a stronger customer service record.