Tackle energy tariffs Why we're tackling tariffs
Which? believes that energy tariffs are confusing and unfair, a combination which costs you more money and often penalises energy savers and the most vulnerable customers.
Energy tariff tricks - the top three
Even though you have rights when dealing with energy companies, we believe that these tricks can make it tricky for you to realise you can do so.
Energy tariffs are too complicated
Whether you're on the 'fixed online saver 24' or the 'super-saver dual-fuel version 7', it's rare to find a tariff that does what it says without too much small print.
There are many different ways to structure a tariff, and so calculate the cost, which means when your energy bill comes through at the end of the month it's almost impossible for you to check whether the amount you're being billed is correct.
You pay more for your first energy units
By charging substantially more for the first set of units in a 'tiered tariff' or having an expensive daily 'standing charge' energy companies ensure that they don't make a loss from lower users.
But that means that the fewer units of energy you use, the higher the average cost of those units. This means that low users – often the most vulnerable people – are paying more per unit than most.
Fuel discounts aren't always what they seem
Paying by direct debit or managing your account online saves your supplier money. By passing on some of the savings to you they can offer better prices.
That's fair enough in principle. But your supplier makes the saving straight away, whereas your discount might not come until months down the line. Some suppliers even leave it a year before giving you the money you're owed.
The discount on the right offers £105 discount per year. So that's 30p a day, or £2 a week, right? Not according to the small print: 'Your discount will be credited to your account on or before the last day of the 12th month after becoming eligible.'
So your energy supplier gets their savings straight away but you get your money at the end of the year ... if you don't switch your gas and electricity supplier, of course.