Energy firms to reveal their best deals

| April 11, 2012
Energy firms to reveal their best deals

The UK’s six largest energy companies will be required to write to their customers each year telling them if their current tariff is the cheapest one which meets their needs.

Vulnerable customers, including pensioners and those eligible for assistance from the warm home discount scheme, will be contacted twice a year.

The news, announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on the BBC Breakfast programme, is expected to save consumers around £100 a year on their energy bills.

Energy companies will also have to tell customers how they can switch to a cheaper tariff.

It is estimated that 70 per cent of UK energy consumers are not on the best tariff.

Price comparison site uSwitch.com recently highlighted a growing debt problem among energy customers.

Recent price increases have left around four million customers in debt to their energy suppliers, the uSwitch study found, and being in debt is often seen as a barrier to switching to a different supplier.

In total, UK consumers owe energy companies £478 million, representing an increase of 4 per compared with last year and 15 per cent higher than in 2008.

The average household energy bill is now £1,252 year, according to the latest data from uSwitch.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mr Clegg said that the government’s latest move would “keep energy companies on their toes”.

He also revealed that the government is working on several other initiatives to help reduce the cost of energy, including the simplification of energy tariffs.

While the move has been welcomed by consumer groups, there is also concern that energy companies will only inform consumers about their own deals.

There is therefore still a need for consumers to compare deals offered by different energy suppliers.

Ninety-nine per cent of the energy used in British homes is supplied by EDF, E.ON, British Gas, Southern, Scottish Power and npower.

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