A ‘shocking’ lack of trust in energy companies has prompted Which? – the consumers’ association – to launch a new campaign calling for fair energy prices.
Which? research show just one in five people trust suppliers to charge a fair price for their energy. And more than half say it’s difficult to compare the prices of different energy deals.
Energy prices consistently rank as the number one financial concern for consumers, with 40% worried about the cost of heating their home this winter.
Which? is calling for simpler pricing to help people more easily spot the best deals. A spokesman explained: “We think customers should have a credible, independent benchmark – a ‘price to beat’ – against which to compare prices.
“Energy suppliers would compete against this ‘price to beat’, which would be set and regularly updated by the energy market regulator.
“Big reforms are needed to restore confidence in the industry and to guarantee fairer energy prices for consumers.’
“The Competition and Markets Authority should now investigate how the independent regulator could establish a price people can trust that will spur suppliers to compete and reassure worried consumers that they’re not being ripped off. Meanwhile, energy companies should use simple pricing to increase confidence in the industry and boost competition by encouraging switching.”
Meanwhile, latest figures from Energy UK – which represents, among others, Britains ‘Big Six’ utility suppliers – who consumers continue to shop around.
Forty five per cent of switches that took place in the month of August were to small electricity suppliers with switches to small suppliers hitting 97,000.
This comes at a time when smaller electricity providers are gaining a larger part of the market. Total switches remained high with 215,000 customers changing supplier.
Angela Knight, Chief Executive, Energy UK, said: “It is fantastic to see customers taking advantage of the greater choice and increased competition in the electricity market.
“All companies, large and small, are fighting for new customers on both price and service. The number of customers moving each month and choosing newer companies shows that people are hunting for the best deal for them.
“There is plenty of choice out there and it is easy to compare deals. Now is the time to find the perfect tariff ahead of the cold winter months.”