People who haven’t changed their gas or electricity supplier for ages could be those with most to gain by switching to a cheaper supplier, according to Which?.
The news comes as energy group ScottishPower confirmed that its customers face further price rises of up to 15 per cent on their energy bills.
From March its electricity prices will rise by 8 per cent and gas by 15 per cent, forcing households to pay out an average of GBP 23 or GBP 65 more a year.
But new Which? research has found that three quarters of householders are still failing to shop around for the best deal and are sticking with the same gas and electricity supplier.
These ‘rookie switchers’ don’t think it’s worth switching because they believe all companies charge about the same price.
With over 18 million households falling into the ‘rookie’ switchers group and an average annual household saving of around GBP 160 to be made, Which? has developed the only truly independent switching site to help everybody, from the ‘rookie’ to the ‘savvy’ switcher, get the best deal.
Save a packet
It provides comprehensive and impartial information on home energy suppliers and makes it easy for people to switch, as Which? Head of Services Research Jennifer Conti, explained:
‘It seems we’re a nation divided into ‘savvy’ and ‘rookie’ switchers. People who regularly check out the competition are saving themselves a packet but it’s the rookies who are most likely to scoop in the biggest savings, simply because they may have been getting a raw deal for a relatively long time without realising it.
‘Switching is one of the quickest and easiest ways to save money. Our new switching site, which.co.uk/switch, can tell people in minutes whether they could join those already getting a better deal. Do yourself a favour, rather than the over-priced suppliers.’
ScottishPower has blamed its latest rises on soaring wholesale costs and said it had ‘worked hard’ to prevent putting bills up over the winter.
But consumer group Energywatch says that these latest hikes mean ScottishPower has now raised gas prices by 51 per cent since 2003, making its gas prices the highest in Britain.
Adam Scorer, Energywatch Director of Campaigns said: ‘Soaring wholesale gas prices may cause discomfort for energy suppliers, but this means real distress for those hundreds of thousands of ScottishPower’s customers who cannot afford to heat their homes properly.
‘Yet again we find ourselves having to get the message across to consumers that there are steps they can take to cut their energy costs. With prices changing so quickly consumers must remain switched on and make sure they are getting the best possible deal.’