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The latest results on the consumer group’s energy star rating table indicate a decline in service by smaller and challenger suppliers.

35 electicity and gas suppliers were included in the survey, and data was gathered during the October-December 2018 period.

iSupply, Pure Planet, PFP Energy, Eversmart Energy and Outfox The Market all scored less than 2 out of 5 overall. This is shocking in comparison to results for the previous period, when just one company scored that low.

 The watchdog says the results stem from unexpected changes in tariffs, large unexpected bills, being unable to effectively communicate with the supplier and unannounced increases in direct debits.

21, or 40% of the 35 companies surveyed managed a score of at least 3 out of 5, up two from previous rankings.

Citizen’s Advice has called for industry regulator Ofgem to tighten licence requirements and take firmer action against poorly-performing suppliers.

The consumer group also called to reduce the costs attracted when suppliers leave the market – costs that have left customers to pay an additional   £160 million.

Gillian Guy, CEO at Citizens Advice, said: “The regulator needs to take urgent action by tightening rules around supplier licences, monitoring existing firms more closely and enforcing standards where these aren’t met.”

Energy UK’s CEO Lawrence Slade noted: “In an increasingly competitive market, good customer service is just as important as price for many customers choosing their energy supplier.

“With 11 suppliers having exited the market since the start of last year – many of whom struggled with their customer service as well as financially – we agree that Ofgem needs to toughen the requirements for new and existing suppliers.”