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British Gas most-criticised, amid huge levels of social negativity towards energy companies

The Keller Fay Group (PR Newswire) - 20 November 2013

British Gas most-criticised, amid huge levels of social negativity towards energy companies

- Keller Fay research shows significant negative WOM for all Big-6 energy brands

- EdF best of a bad bunch for net sentiment

LONDON/PRNewswire/ -- UK consumer watchdog Consumer Futures yesterday indicated that of Britain's Big-6 energy providers, npower received far more customer complaints than competitors, relative to the size of its customer base (

This data monitors actual complaints to energy companies, but does it reflect the much higher volume of negative word of mouth (WOM) that the big 6 brands attract?

Data from Keller Fay's TalkTrack research programme indicates that negative WOM for energy brands is on a huge scale:

  • Every day in the UK, an estimated 4 million negative opinions are exchanged about one of the Big-6 brands

While Consumer Futures pronounced npower worst for complaints volumes, for negative WOM it isBritish Gas that holds the undesirable lead.  BG attracted 39% of all negative WOM among the big 6, comfortably in excess of its market share and well above the level of competitors even allowing for its larger customer base:

% of negative WOM for Big-6 energy suppliers 6 months to October 2013

British Gas










Scottish Power


Some may be surprised to learn that not all WOM about energy brands is negative  over a quarter of conversations about them is 'mostly positive'.  It is here where npower really struggles  only 22% of conversations about npower were positive, bottom of the pile.  This compares with 35% positive sentiment for EdF, though even this is well below the UK all-brand average (62% positive)

In summarising the research results, Steve Thomson, MD of Keller Fay UK, said "Energy brands have few fans, and generating positive brand buzz is a tough challenge in the current environment.  But not all WOM is derogatory, and the best performers in the sector do attract significantly more brand advocacy than their competitors". 

About Keller Fay 


The Keller Fay Group is the first full-service market research company focused exclusively on word of mouth (WOM) and brand advocacy. Launched in 2011, Keller Fay's TalkTrack Britain programme is the UK's only continuous study of consumer conversations about brands across all channels, online and offline.  TalkTrack subscribers include leading agencies, brands and media organisations.


SOURCE The Keller Fay Group