Last updated: 29 January 2021
In this guide:
npower company profile
What’s happening with npower and E.ON?
Green energy with npower
Smart meters with npower
npower online account management
What are npower reviews like?
Is npower right for me?
National Power was established in 1990 as one of three major utility companies following the privatisation of the Central Electricity Generating Board. Later rebranding as npower, the supplier was acquired by German company RWE and rose to become a firmly entrenched part of the UK’s big six energy suppliers before a period of upheaval.
Founded: 1990 (as National Power)
HQ: Swindon, United Kingdom
Total customers: 3.6 million (residential and business)
UK ranking: 6
In 2016, RWE split off its renewable energy, retail and network divisions into a new company: Innogy SE, which included npower. As part of the Innogy group, the company operates coal, oil, gas-fired and biomass stations.
In late 2017, it was proposed to merge npower with SSE, but despite gaining regulatory approval, the merger was called off in December 2018. Instead, npower was acquired by E.ON UK as part of an asset swap between both companies’ German parents.
E.ON has announced it will be gradually transitioning npower customers over to its new subsidiary, EON.Next, which is a brand new energy company that “aims to provide exceptional service using an innovative customer platform based on future-proof technology, with an easy to use website for customers.”
You’ll be contacted when your account is due to be transferred across, and in the meantime, you can find answers to all your questions about the imminent switch on the npower website.
Npower has long held a commitment to smart innovation and green energy, and is the only energy company to have been triple-certified to the Carbon Trust Standard, thanks to its sustainable management policies and renewable power generation.
npower business services offer 100% renewable electricity with some of its commercial tariffs. These are compliant with current best practice, allowing zero-carbon reporting. This is achieved by matching the power consumed with the equivalent volume fed back to the national grid. The company secures Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) certificates for the equivalent energy consumed by businesses. Another eco-friendly benefit of the npower business service is that it can meet carbon reporting requirements. These rules are set according to the World Resource Institute’s Greenhouse Gas Protocol guidance, so that businesses benefit from zero-carbon emission reporting.
The company offers 100% renewable electricity on selected tariffs for both business and residential customers. Non-renewable tariffs are primarily supplied by energy from natural gas (72%) – the company’s overall fuel mix for 2019-20 was as follows:
|Fuel type||Percentage of fuel mix (UK average)|
Where possible, npower focuses on renewable energy sources like wind, water, and solar power. npower has also joined up with the Trees for Cities programme, planting a tree in a UK city for every customer that signs up to a green-friendly tariff. The company also partnered with the Climate Care initiative to carbon offset 100% of Go Green Energy Fix customers’ gas consumption. They support a full range of Emissions Reductions including 90% renewable electricity generation and 10% forest protection projects.
npower’s website currently carries details of just two available tariffs:
|Tariff name||Type||Exit fees||Key features|
|Fix 1 Year Plus v5||Fixed until 31 March 2022||None||Pay by Direct Debit or receipt of bill; online account; smart meter required (can be fitted as part of signup)|
|Standard variable||Variable – prices can go up or down||None||Pay by Direct Debit or receipt of bill; online account; also available as prepayment|
Note, switching to npower now from another supplier will make you part of E.ON.
npower is part of the national smart meter rollout plan along with most other energy suppliers. Indeed, its current fixed-price tariff requires a smart meter – which can be fitted when customers sign up to the tariff.
Smart meters record your energy use, automatically sending meter readings directly to the supplier to ensure you receive accurate bills based on your actual usage, as opposed to an estimate. You’ll also receive a handheld Smart Energy Display (SED) where you can see key information about your supply, including consumption in real time. This helps you keep track of what you’re spending to avoid any shock bills in the post.
npower makes it easy to install a smart meter. You can check your eligibility online, choosing a date and time for your installation. The engineer will install the unit free of charge, showing you just how the SED works at the same time. The full process can take up to two hours, during which time you’ll need to be there with the installers. The power will be cut off for about half an hour, and the engineer will require access to your current electricity meter.
Another feature offered is the npower Select service, which was launched in March 2019 to serve customers interested in managing their energy use online. While some online-only tariffs require smart meter installation, the Select service provides a full range of app and online tariffs across all meter types. This has helped eliminate paper billing for many customers, streamlining services.
The company suffers from poor reviews on TrustPilot, although it’s received far fewer reviews than other comparable suppliers. Nevertheless, as of February 2021 it had scored just 1.2 out of 5 stars from almost 2,800 reviews. As with all Trustpilot ratings, it’s always best to read a cross-section of reviews first.
If you’re looking to switch to npower, it’s important you take into account the fact the company is slowly transitioning across to E.ON Next, a subsidiary of fellow big-six supplier E.ON.
Now is the best time for both existing and prospective npower customers to compare prices and tariffs across a range of energy suppliers to see which ones may fit your needs best. You may find that npower’s prices and benefits balance out the customer service ratings to determine if this supplier could be the best choice for you.