A simples guide

Can I trust my current energy supplier?

Do you trust your energy supplier? It seems that many consumers in the UK are answering ‘no’ to that question. Reports have shown that many of us trust them less than we did in the past.**

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Why’s there a trust issue?

Consumers have quoted a number of different reasons for why they don’t trust their supplier. Poor value for money and lack of transparency or openness is partly to blame. Bills aren’t straightforward enough, and it feels like little help is provided as to how costs could be reduced. When consumers do have issues, the companies are often seen as hard to navigate, with many customers finding them tricky to communicate with or complain to.

What does the regulator do?

Think of the regulator as keeping an eye on the industry. While it can’t tell the suppliers what to charge or how to run their operations, it’s an important and powerful voice in the industry. No supplier really wants to be singled out for criticism by the regulator.

Ofgem works on four key themes:

  • Promoting value for money
  • Making sure supplies to our homes are secure
  • Promoting sustainability and environmental production
  • Delivering programmes as dictated by the government
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What can you do as a consumer?

We all need energy to power our homes and to enjoy our lives so we need energy suppliers whether we like it or not. There are a few things you can do to make sure you’re at least in control of the situation, whether you trust your supplier or not.

- Stay informed and check your bills
Make the effort to understand your bill and check that it genuinely reflects the energy you’re using. Use newspapers, the TV or the internet to follow what is happening in the industry and listen to advice as to what you can do as a consumer. Think of any vulnerable relatives or neighbours you might have and make sure they stay similarly informed.

- Don’t be afraid to complain
If something is wrong, don’t be afraid to make a fuss. Energy companies are required to record your complaint and report on how fast they resolve it. If they don’t and you need help the Citizens Advice Consumer Services are set up to help you through the process at the point that you need any additional support.

You can escalate your complaint to the Energy Ombudsman Service (https://www.ombudsman-services.org/energy.html) if your complaint isn’t resolved to your satisfaction within eight weeks.

- Vote with your feet
Your ultimate power as a consumer is to vote with your feet and change supplier. Switching doesn’t have to be all about saving money (though that helps), poor customer service can be an equally good reason to change supplier.

And by switching, you could stand to save money. It’s a fact that comparethemarket.com customers between January and April this year have saved an average of £461 per year by switching energy suppliers.

Comparing energy prices is simple. Find out how much you could save by switching supplier today.

**http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/household-bills/9887504/Half-of-consumers-do-not-trust-energy-suppliers.html