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Campaigns | Energy prices

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Energy companies must accept the need to change

24th June

Following a two year investigation, the Competition and Markets Authority has today published its final report on its recommendations to fix the broken energy market.

Earlier this year the CMA set out its initial findings citing lack of competition in the energy market. Today’s final report maintains this sentiment and calls for improvements to be made to help people switch energy provider.

Improvement needed

It’s also two years since we launched our Energy Prices campaign calling for a fairer energy market.

Over the past two years our campaign has highlighted time and time again the lack of competition in the sector, the sheer number of people paying over the odds for their energy and the limited protection for vulnerable customers.

Today’s report has simply confirmed to us that the energy market is not working for consumers.

Our Director of Policy and Campaigns, Alex Neill, said:

‘With the cost to consumers of an uncompetitive market standing at £1.4 billion, it's ​high ​time for energy companies to ​accept they need to change.

‘​After a two year investigation, we need to see swift action by suppliers and O​fgem ​to ​​set out how they will implement the review's recommendations. ​If the energy companies fail to show they can treat their customers fairly, and deliver better service and ​competitive prices, the regulator must be ready to ​come down on them like a ton of bricks.’

We’ll continue to push for a fairer energy market alongside the almost 480,000 supporters who’ve backed our Energy Prices campaign so far.

Join our call for a fairer energy market and sign our petition today.


Big Six energy prices are out of touch

10th June

While we await publication of the final report from the Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA) two-year investigation into the energy market, we’ve carried out research that shows the Big Six providers are out of touch with the market.

Energy prices

As part of its investigation, the CMA earlier this year set out evidence on the lack of competition in the sector. It highlighted that the cost to consumers of an uncompetitive market was around £1.7bn.

Our analysis found that since the CMA started its investigation in 2014 the price gap between the Big Six standard tariffs and the cheapest deals on the market has nearly doubled - from £182 to £329.

But despite consumers being able to make significant savings by switching, official figures reveal switching still remains low.

Our call on the CMA

With the backing of over 460,000 supporters joining our call for fair energy prices there is a weight of expectation on the shoulders of the CMA.

Our Director of Policy and Campaigns, Alex Neill, said:

‘It is right that the energy market has been investigated but during this time prices have continued to soar.

‘If consumer trust is to be restored in this market then the CMA proposals must bring about real change in the energy market to benefit consumers who have been paying over the odds for gas and electricity.

‘The regulator must set out how it will measure the success of its reforms and ensure they will be effectively reviewed, so that action can be taken if competition and consumer outcomes don't improve.’


Scottish Power fined £18m for customer service failings

Scottish Power has been fined by Ofgem after failing to treat its customers fairly.

Wholesale energy prices at decade low

Wholesale energy prices have dropped to their lowest level in almost a decade. So why aren’t energy suppliers dropping prices further?


The CMA announces reform for the energy market

After two years investigating, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced its proposals for the energy market.

More than 360,000 of you have signed our petition for Fair Energy Prices, and together we have urged the CMA to deliver changes that would fix the broken energy market.

Today the CMA announced the conclusions of its investigation, so what has the competition regulator proposed?

The CMA’s energy market remedies

Here are some of the remedies the CMA announced today:

 - A temporary price cap to protect the four million vulnerable customers on prepayment meters, reducing their bills by a total of £300m a year.

- An Ofgem-controlled database to allow rival energy suppliers to contact customers who have been stuck on standard tariffs for three or more years.

- Ditching the recently-introduced rules that restrict suppliers to offering just four tariffs.

Our executive director Richard Lloyd comments on the proposals: 

'After two years of this energy inquiry, there is still a long way to go before we will have an energy market that works for all consumers.

'While it is right to ensure that vulnerable customers on pre-paid meters are quickly protected, there are many people struggling with their bills who will not be helped by this price cap. And the regulator must make sure that releasing customer data to rival suppliers is done so that it genuinely helps people switch from the most expensive tariffs to better deals, rather than result in more unwanted nuisance calls.'

Restoring trust in the energy industry

Richard Lloyd added:

'With the cost to consumers of an uncompetitive market now standing at £1.7bn, we want all the energy suppliers to stop resisting change and start working harder to restore trust in their industry.'

Are you pleased with the proposals announced by the CMA? Are they what’s needed to reform the energy market?


British Gas announces higher profits

British Gas has announced that its profits are up by 31% compared to the previous year.

The supplier's profits rose to £574m for the 12 months to 31 December, up from £439m in the previous year.

British Gas says the higher profits are due to an increase in the use of gas, despite being the warmest December on record. Profits at its parent company, Centrica, fell by 12%.

Iain Conn, chief executive of Centrica, said:

'We absolutely have passed on the low costs of commodity prices as they fell to our customers. We saw a very mild 2014 and we saw a more normal 2015 and therefore the amount of energy that our customers used went up and therefore the actual total profit went up.'

British Gas price cuts

Last week British Gas followed the other big energy suppliers by announcing a price cut for its gas customers. This small price cut of 5.1% was in addition to two other British Gas price cuts over the past 12 months.

Our executive director Richard Lloyd said:

'With British Gas today announcing residential profits are up, customers will be asking why energy suppliers have only cut their gas prices by such a paltry amount.'

Sign our petition for fair energy prices

Wholesale energy prices have fallen dramatically for both gas and electricity over the last year, and we think a truly competitive market would pass these savings on to customers more quickly and generously.

If you agree that energy suppliers should do more to pass savings over to their customers, sign our petition for fair energy prices.


All Big Six energy suppliers announce gas price cuts

11th February

EDF Energy and British Gas today became the last of the Big Six suppliers to announce lower gas prices.

EDF has announced a 5% price cut to its standard gas tariff, and British Gas will reduce its gas prices by 5.1%. Both price cuts will come into force from March.

British Gas has previously cut its prices twice in the past 12 months, and claims the average duel fuel bill should be £100 lower than before all three cuts.

These latest announcements follow similar price cuts by Npower, SSE, Eon and Scottish Power. Smaller suppliers, including Ovo Energy, have also announced price cuts for their customers in recent months.

Step in the right direction

Although these price cuts are a step in the right direction, they’re lower than you’d expect considering the dramatic falls in wholesale energy prices.

Our executive director Richard Lloyd said:

‘Price reductions are a step in the right direction for customers struggling with their energy bills. But seeing all of the big suppliers mirror each other with small cuts in the face of falling wholesale prices will raise questions in consumers minds about whether competition is working in this market.’

We need the Competition and Market Authority’s inquiry tackle value for money, customer service and switching in the energy market.

If you agree that these price cuts don’t go far enough, sign our petition for fair energy prices.


E.ON announces cuts to gas prices

20th January

OVO Energy comes out in support of our campaign

OVO Energy has come out in support of our Fair Energy Prices campaign.


CMA needs to act on sky-high energy prices

Energy bills have risen by a shocking 73% over the last decade. We're calling on the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to set out how it will shake up the energy market when it releases the findings of its year-long investigation later this month.

Energy bill worries

Our research shows that two-thirds of people are worried about the size of their energy bills. With average annual bills now approaching £1,400, it's no wonder. Spending on energy rose from 2% of household budgets in 2004 to 4% a decade later.

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:

'There’s no doubt that the energy system is failing consumers and needs a shake up. Just one in five of us trust energy suppliers to charge us a fair price. The CMA has a great chance to fix things but must be brave, and not shy away from tough decisions that show it’s on the side of consumers.'

Our open letter sets out the five tests we'll use to rate the CMA's provisional remedies on how well they will deliver on issues such as simplifying pricing, protecting consumers and ensuring real competition in the market.


Energy inquiry: keeping up the pressure

With the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) due to report on its energy market investigation next month, we've set out how we'll be judging the remedies they propose.
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