Suppliers have been in the firing line again with the news that the Big Six have creamed off an extra £1bn every year from customers. But can you blame them?
If you’d paid more for your holiday than the chap in the room next door, would you be banging on the travel agents door demanding an explanation? No! You’d accept that you hadn’t taken the time to find a better deal and just taken the first offer.
And so it is with energy. There are and have been lots of deals to be had. Consumers just aren’t looking for them. The Big Six have taken 90% of business in the energy market and customers just keep rolling onto less and less competitive tariffs. Sadly rather than being rewarded for their loyalty (or apathy?), suppliers have increased prices on their long-standing customers.
So both parties are to blame, we admit. Despite money saving experts such as Martin Lewis and the media banging on about saving money on energy bills, around a third of consumers never even think of switching – it is because they just can’t be bothered for a £10-£15 a month saving?
Is the government partly to blame for the rising prices though? They ruled that suppliers should only offer four tariffs so as not to confuse customers. Yet predictably this just led to the withdrawal of the cheap offers and the market became less competitive.
Who are we to judge? (We think it’s a combination of all three in case you were wondering!)
So we’ll give you the official line. The CMA stood up for the suppliers and have focussed on education about smart meters and switching.
They are even planning to broadcast the details of reluctant customers so that rival firms can contact them with offers of a better deal.
Their next move was to push for a regulatory price cap but they acknowledge this could bring more problems with it.
We’re not jumping on that bandwagon but we do believe in educating customers. For help or advice on the energy market, call 0800 051 5770.