Despite new ‘price display’ legislation, UK households are staying stuck on expensive tariffs

Despite Government pressure on energy suppliers in the form of recent reforms to make pricing clearer, it has been made obvious by a recent ‘Which?’ report that many electricity customers remain on expensive tariffs. According to the report, about 21 million customers, some 75% remain stuck on standard agreements, and paying in the region of 9% more than they would on better deals. High Gas tariffs were found to be similar, with 16 million customers being affected. Only some 10% to 11% of customers changed their suppliers last year.

The CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) are being called upon to take further action.

“The CMA must reverse this trend if its lengthy investigation is to bring about a competitive market with fair energy prices,” said Richard Lloyd, Executive Director of Which?

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokeswoman said:

“Our priority is keeping bills as low as possible for hard-working families via a competitive energy market, to help bill payers get a better deal by making switching faster and easier.”

One of the main issues is the protection of vulnerable customers from paying way above the odds. Energy suppliers are, according to the report, exploiting their market power by overcharging inactive households who are on standard contracts, compared to those on special fixed deals.

The report has recommended various other actions that the public can take, although many people are not in a financial situation to do so, or are renting and believe they cannot change the situation. It is suggested that people check their old boiler and if possible replace aging G-rated models with a modern condensing version, insulate their home either by expensive cavity wall insulation or more basic applications such as checking windows and doors for draughts, and turning down or actively controlling the thermostat on a regular basis.

Despite some 200,000 electricity customers switching suppliers each month this is only actually 1% of the energy buying public. With winter energy bills naturally starting to arise, it makes it even more important that families are on the best energy tariff for their own personal circumstances.

The number of energy suppliers is increasing, with smaller companies competing with the ‘Big Six’ for customers. The best tariffs are not always to be found with the bigger suppliers.

To find the best and most up-to-date offers, it is recommended to go through a recognised switching company such as Energy Switcheroo. The process is not difficult or lengthy, and can be repeated at a later date if tariff offers change. You do not have to keep with the main supplier in your area.