Energy companies trusted less than politiciansCustomers kept in the dark about price hikes

20 May 2010

Energy pylons

Which? wants energy suppliers to make tariffs easier to understand and compare.

Energy customers trust their utility provider less than politicians and estate agents, according to a new survey. 

This perhaps isn't surprising given that Npower recently received the lowest customer satisfaction score of any company in a Which? satisfaction survey. You can see satisfaction ratings for all the major energy providers in the Which? Switch energy satisfaction survey.

If you're not happy with your energy provider then vote with your feet by switching energy suppliers. People who use Which? switch save an average of £263.

Energy bill confusion and price hikes

People are also confused by their energy bills -  more than two thirds have no idea what they’re paying for their energy per unit and nearly half don't understand how their bill is calculated. 

The current rules also mean that if your energy provider hikes the price of your bill they don't have to tell you for over two months after the prices have taken affect. Energy industry watchdog Ofgem is currently considering closing this loophole, and completed a consultation on the issue last week.

Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith says: 'It’s outrageous that energy suppliers are allowed to keep their customers in the dark over price hikes for almost three months after they’ve happened – we’ve lobbied hard to get this absurd rule changed and are delighted that Ofgem is finally responding to our concerns. 

'We want to see the tables turned in favour of consumers so that energy suppliers have to give at least 65 working days notice ahead of price changes. This will give people time to explore alternative tariffs, switch to another supplier or budget to address increased energy costs.'

Which? research shows that 95% of people think their energy supplier should notify them before price rises come into force.

Lower your gas and electricity bills

You can compare energy prices and switch to a new gas and electricity supplier on Which? Switch. People who switched with us between 1 October and 31 December 2013 are predicted to save an average of £234 a year on their bills.

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