Which? wants energy tariffs to be simplifiedHere's how to get involved with our energy campaign

22 September 2011

With energy tariffs so complicated that even an accountant struggles to calculate how much they should pay, Which? is asking for your help to convince Ofgem to simplify tariffs.

During a Which? investigation, we asked 36 people to work out their energy bill using nothing but information from the supplier's website.

Our testing team included a solicitor, an engineer and an accountant. Just one - a company director – could do it.

Which? wants the regulator to , across the board. To do it, we need your help. Our first goal is to convince Ofgem to introduce one simple format for all tariffs - use our to write to Ofgem's chief executive to show your support.

Stamp out complex tariffs

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd explains: 'There are straightforward ways that consumers can cut their bills - for example by switching to online deals or paying by Direct Debit. But that won't help people to pick the best tariff for them.'


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Video transcript

Hi. Can I have a minute of your time? I'm going to pitch to give you my pitch. Get it? I'm from Energy Unlimited Limited, and I'm here to give you your best deal on your energy tariff. This is my super triple online saver 14.7, and with this, you get 15 quid off per quarter. Terms of this apply. Fifteen quid by ten in lots of six.

Sound good? Of course it does. These are the best energy deals around. You won't find a better offer elsewhere. There's a hundred quid off of this tariff. You won't actually get it until next year. Not convinced yet? Shame on you. This is a one-time only offer for my favorite customer. Favorite customer not legally binding.

Hey, hey, wait. Where are you going? I'm telling you this is a one time only offer.

They're unfair, they' re confusing, and we've had enough. Email Ofgem and help Which tackle tariffs.

Can I interest you in our online super-saver tariff? No? We have a rugby player discount. I can give you two pound off for being tall.

Energy tariffs are riddled with tricks and caveats designed to cost people more money. These include tiered pricing that penalises low users and discounts that don't materialise if you leave before a set period. Complex bills can also conceal bad deals for customers.

The Which? simplified tariff will take just two charges into account – a daily standing charge to cover the cost of delivering the energy to you, and a cost per unit for your energy. Energy companies could decide their own unit price, meaning you could easily compare by unit price, which was the cheapest deal for you.

Affordable Energy Campaign poster

We're tackling tariffs as part of our Affordable Energy Campaign

Affordable Energy Campaign

A simpler format for energy tariffs would mean everyone pays a fairer price for their energy, and can compare the cost between companies quickly and easily.

Our proposed standardised energy tariff is the first challenge in our Affordable Energy Campaign. We want to help people spend as little as possible on energy. Our first goal is to convince Ofgem to introduce one simple format for all tariffs.

Energy Select Committee support

Tim Yeo MP, chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, has offered Which? his support. The committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and its associated public bodies.

Mr Yeo said: 'I welcome Which?'s investigation into the complexity of energy tariffs. The Energy and Climate Change Select Committee will return to this issue if no action is taken.'

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