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Last Updated: Friday, 3 November 2006, 10:53 GMT
Average gas bill 'up by a third'
Gas ring on cooker
Customer satisfaction decreased as prices rose, the survey said
The average domestic gas bill has risen by more than a third in the past year, a survey of energy consumers suggests.

The average gas bill rose by 33.6% to 510.60, while electricity bills climbed 13.7% to 453.24, the study by research firm JD Power found.

Customer satisfaction decreased as a result, the survey of 2,605 electricity and 2,008 gas customers found.

The Energy Retail Association, representing suppliers, said wholesale prices had pushed up bills.

Interviewees were asked about a number of aspects of their customer experience including price and value, customer service, and billing and payment.

"Customer satisfaction is naturally affected by price increases," JD Power's Caspar Tearle said.

No-one is popular when prices are rising
Energy Retail Association

"However, suppliers can moderate these levels by keeping their customers informed of any price changes in advance while also communicating the rationale behind such changes."

Rankings

A spokeswoman for Energy Retail Association said all the energy suppliers were "investing heavily" and "working hard to maintain and increase standards on every front".

"It is disappointing but we're also realistic," the spokeswoman said.

"Over the last 18 months, soaring wholesale gas and electricity costs have pushed up household bills and no-one is popular when prices are rising."

GAS SATISFACTION RANKING
1)Scottish and Southern Energy
2)Npower
3)ScottishPower
4)Powergen
5)British Gas
6)EDF Energy
Source: JD Power

The survey ranked Npower as the best electricity supplier and Scottish and Southern Energy as the best gas supplier.

It also found that EDF Energy was the gas and electricity supplier with the lowest customer satisfaction score.

An EDF Energy spokeswoman said the company noted the survey results.

However, she added that in the latest league tables of accounts and billing complaints released by consumer watchdog Energywatch, EDF Energy "came second for the least number of complaints, second for accounts and billings, and second for all transfers".

ELECTRICITY SATISFACTION RANKING
1)Npower
2)Scottish and Southern Energy
3)ScottishPower
4)British Gas
5)Powergen
6)EDF Energy
Source: JD Power

Research from Energywatch, revealed at the end of last month, suggested that British Gas was not only the UK's most expensive energy provider but that it also provided the worst customer service.

Energywatch said complaints about British Gas in the six months to September were twice last year's total, while complaints about its rivals fell.

British Gas said the service problems were a "temporary situation" and improvements had already been seen.




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