Most of us know that energy isn’t cheap – our bills tell us that every time we dare to open them. But now, even the government admits that it thinks gas and electricity providers have been overcharging customers and a group of MPs are prepared to debate in Parliament that it needs to stop.
MPs from different parties have come together to demand that strict measures and guidelines need to be put in place to prevent energy companies from ripping off customers. The cross-party group highlighted the fact that loyal customers are being exploited rather than rewarded as energy firms were in the habit of “quietly switching [customers] on to expensive tariffs when their existing deal comes to an end”.
The MPs and their supporters have said that switching energy suppliers alone won’t solve the problem of pricey bills, and that more realistic, long term solutions need to be considered.
Only British Gas announced it was freezing tariffs (until August anyway) whilst all the other ‘Big six’ firms have declared price rises for gas, electricity, or both – if you’re interested, here’s a recap on what’s been happening:
- EDF raised electricity prices on the 1 March by 8.4% (they cut gas by 5.2% in January)
- npower raised electricity prices by 15% and gas by 4.8% on 16 March
- Scottish power will raise electricity prices by 10.8% and gas by 4.7% on 31 March
- E.on will raise electricity prices by 13.8% and gas by 3.8% on 26 April
- SSE will raise electricity prices by 14.9% on 28 April, but its gas prices will stay the same
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that customers on standard variable tariffs had been overcharged £1.4 billion pounds every year between 2012 and 2015, compared to those on alternative tariffs. And industry regulator, Ofgem, said poorer households were now burdened with energy bills that made up 10% of all their household outgoings, 4.5% more than in 2004.
So, it seems that the powers that be all agree something needs to be done. But at the moment, it’s all still in the debating stage (and we all know how MPs love a debate – all that hot air could power a steamship); who knows when the debate will turn into an actual set of guidelines and rules.
Until then, it’s up to you to take back control of your energy bills. And if you’re worried about switching and wonder how it all works, and whether or not you need to start buying candles just in case; read our simples guides to switching energy suppliers and the switching process explained.
Plus, let’s not forget about the Energy Switch Guarantee which promises that switching should be pain and fuss free. And once you’re happy that you won’t be left in the dark, start comparing energy deals right here; however you compare, do it with us – it’s just what we do.