25% of Edinburgh households over-charged by gas and electricity providers

A council-owned energy company has estimated that around 25% of its population are being over-charged by the Big Six energy suppliers which dominate the UK market.

New figures unearthed by Bristol Energy suggest that around 112,000 homes across the city are being overcharged for their energy bills. And total savings for the city could be as much as £28 million.

Bristol has a population of 450,000 people – and 1 in 4 of them are paying too much.

The same figures are likely to apply to Edinburgh, which has a population of 500,000 people – ie 125,000 people in the capital are likely to be over-paying their energy providers.

As the Big Six British energy providers have an 85% market share, most people in Edinburgh are likely to be either Scottish Power or SSE customers.

The energy market has long been dominated by the Big Six energy suppliers. Despite more than 50 energy suppliers to choose from, around 85% are still with a larger supplier. And around 70% of people are on what’s called a standard variable deal, a default tariff that kicks in once a fixed term deal comes to an end.

British Gas was the last of the Big Six to raise its prices for their most loyal customers, affecting three million people across the country.

Bristol Energy is one of a handful of smaller suppliers calling for a price cap on expensive tariffs that customers default to once their fixed deal comes to an end.

Bristol Energy – which is Britain’s biggest publicly-owned energy supplier – could be a role-model for the kind of not-for-profit energy provider which Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wants to set up in Scotland before the next Holyrood general election.

The energy company has already saved its Bristol customers around £1.5 million on their energy bills, but insists there are still big savings to be made.

Peter Haigh, Managing Director of Bristol Energy said: “Recent price rises are eye-watering. And there are no excuses for it. The simplest way to save money this winter is to switch your energy provider and look for a fixed rate deal. Don’t let your energy company penalise you simply for being loyal.”

“We save our best deals for Bristol residents, and can save people £258 a year compared to an average standard variable bill with one of the Big Six.”

Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy commented: “Energy bills now account for 10% of spending in the poorest households, compared with just 5.5% in 2004. Two-thirds of customers have never switched energy suppliers – and may be paying up to £300 a year more than those on the cheapest tariffs.

“It’s the most long-standing and loyal customers, as well as the most vulnerable, that are being penalised by this unfair system.

“I would urge people to make the switch, and find a better deal, rather than boost the sky-rocketing profits of the Big Six energy companies.

“In the meantime I will keep pressing the Government to honour the promise it made during the election to cap energy bills”.

30 Oct 2017

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