A new ’30-day’ rule that requires gas and electricity companies to give their customers notice in advance before increasing prices comes into force from today.
Previously, energy suppliers had up to 65 days after a price increase had happened to alert customers of any change.
Energy regulator Ofgem first announced the new rule in September 2010, and published the details last month.
Which? has welcomed the move, which will ensure customers know beforehand whenever their gas or electricity tariff is due to go up in price – giving them time to shop around for a better deal.
Energy price increase warning
The rules also say that customers will get 30 days advance notice of any change to their contract which ‘leaves them significantly worse off’.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd says: ‘For years, we’ve been campaigning to stop energy companies keeping their customers in the dark about price hikes, so it’s fantastic news that Ofgem has finally made this change. 30 days warning will give people time to compare alternative tariffs, switch to another supplier or manage their budget to prepare for increasing energy costs.
‘But this is only the first step towards a fairer deal for energy customers. We’re also calling for energy companies to guarantee their prices for a set period, so that people who switch don’t find the price they end up paying isn’t the one they signed up for.’
You can compare all the gas and electricity tariffs on the market and find the best deal to suit your energy use using Which? Switch, our free and accredited energy comparison and switching service.
Energy companies challenged
Ofgem recently published a review of the energy market which highlighted the ‘stranglehold’ of the big six energy suppliers on the market – due to a combination of complicated tariffs, poor energy supplier behaviour and lack of transparency.
The energy companies have until 1 June to respond to its raft of proposals, which aim to inject more competition into the market.
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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