Following years of campaigning by Which?, Ofgem has issued new rules today to ensure energy suppliers give customers 30 days notice of price rises.
Until this ruling, energy suppliers had up to 65 days to alert their customers that their tariff had increased. Which? has repeatedly called for advance warnings to become mandatory. Ofgem’s ruling will come into effect from 28 April 2011.
Energy price hikes
Although Ofgem, the Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets, agreed to implement this in September 2010, they were required to consult on the proposals before energy suppliers’ licences could be modified. Climate and Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said that if energy suppliers tried to block these changes, he would use his powers to force them through.
Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said:
‘We’ve campaigned long and hard to ensure that consumers are given an adequate warning about energy price hikes so it’s great to see that this change is finally being made. But this is only the first step towards a fairer deal for energy customers.’
Switch energy suppliers
’30 days warning will give people time to explore alternative tariffs, switch to another supplier or budget to address increased energy costs. However, unless prices are guaranteed for a set period, people who switch could find the price they end up paying isn’t the one they signed up for.’
The new rule also applies to any changes to a contract which will leave the customer significantly worse off. The reform builds on Ofgem’s Retail Market Review, a publication aimed at overhauling the energy market by tackling poor supplier behaviour and preventing the Big Six energy suppliers from monopolising the market.
Find out about how we campaigned to get clearer energy bills and what we’re doing to address terrible tariffs. Do you think Ofgem have taken their review far enough? Join the debate on Which? Conversation.
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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