More than 90% of household gas and electricity customers of Perth-based utility giant SSE are paying the most expensive rates for their energy.
This is revealed today in the new ‘league table’ of highest and lowest-cost British energy providers by OFGEM, the UK industry regulator.
Only Utility Warehouse at 94% has a higher rate of customers paying the highest (standard variable) rate for gas and electricity than SSE’s 91%.
In contrast, at Glasgow-based Scottish Power – the only other Scots member of the Big Six energy provider club – only half (50%) of its customers are on the high-cost ‘standard’ variable rate.
Other Big Six energy providers are also charging at least half their customers at the high standard variable rate, with British/ Scottish Gas on 74%, E.On on 73%, Npower on 59% and the mostly-nuclear EDF on 56%
In contrast, challenger brands have the lowest proportion of their customers on the standard variable rate – ie Extra Energy at 14% and First Utility on 9%.
An OFGEM spokesman explained: “This new at-a-glance guide will boost transparency around energy bills and make it easier for customers to see how much they could save by switching tariff.
“The data also shows what proportion of each supplier’s customers is on standard variable tariffs, how this tariff compares to the cheapest deal offered by each supplier and how it compares to an average of the ten cheapest deals on the market from suppliers.
“Around 66 per cent of all households are on standard variable tariffs, which are typically more expensive than fixed deals.”
An SSE spokesman said: “This publication puts to bed the argument that customers on standard variable tariffs are being overcharged. SSE has a high proportion of customers on the standard tariff but in recent years we have averaged a profit margin of around 5% in our energy supply business showing these customers are getting a fair deal.
“Occasional, limited availability discounts are an important way of driving customer engagement. However, we do all we can to keep all our prices down for customers. Our price freeze now extends to at least three years and we’ve cut our standard prices three times in that period resulting in a 12% overall reduction.
“We regularly tell customers about the cheapest tariff available to them so they can make informed decisions. We aim to offer fair, stable prices, great customer service and extra value for our loyal customers, including excellent offers like free broadband and boiler rescue.”