Ofgem's tariff plans must go furtherWhich? says Ofgem needs to get tougher on tariffs

26 October 2011

Tackling tariffs

Email Ofgem to help Which? tackle energy tariffs.

As the energy regulator begins work on its energy tariff consultation, Which? urges consumers to put pressure on the regulator to stamp out confusing practices.

The energy regulator, Ofgem, has the chance to reform energy tariffs as part of its retail market review this year.

With help from over 5,000 UK consumers, Which? is pressing the regulator to force companies to adopt a simple tariff system. 

However, so far, Ofgem's plans for reform still leave the door open for energy suppliers to confuse customers with complex tariff structures.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: 'What Ofgem is suggesting is an important step in the right direction. But it does not go far enough to solve the problems that consumers face with confusing tarriffs'.

He added: 'In our research only one out of the 36 people we tested could work out their energy costs. It's time to clear up the confusion so that energy customers can easily compare different suppliers.'

The Which? simple tariff

Which? is calling for all energy companies to adopt a simple tariff that will make it easier to compare different energy company costs.

The tariff would include:

  • A daily standing charge covering just the cost of keeping you connected to the network – this would be set by Ofgem and the same for all energy companies.
  • A simple unit price for any energy units you use, which includes any discounts you're entitled to.

The Which? tariff would not stop companies from offering genuinely innovative products, such as time-of-use tariffs for smart meters, but it would put an end to the confusion caused by tiered pricing structures and complicated and sometimes unfair discounts – all of which makes it harder for consumers to find the best deal.

Ofgem's current plans allow for the simple tariff format but only on standard tariffs – usually the most expensive tariff offered by a supplier. This means that people who want a better deal will still have to wade through numerous other deals in order to get low cost energy.

Email Ofgem to ask them to tackle confusing energy tariffs by adding your email address to the box below. 

More on this...