SSE’s ‘confusing’ energy deal disappearsWhich? calls for simpler energy tariffs

21 March 2013


Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE)'s seemingly appealing Discounted Energy Bonus April 2015 tariff is no longer to be found on SSE’s website or price comparison sites.

The two-year tariff offered a tempting 11% discount on its standard rate for the first year of the deal.

SSE gas and electricity tariff

What can be found, but only directly through SSE, is a new similar sounding Discounted Energy April 2015 tariff, a two-year deal with a 2% discount and a £100 sign-up bonus. 

When we spoke to SSE, it told us that the Discounted Energy Bonus April 2015 had not been withdrawn, although we were unable to find it anywhere, and that the £100 cashback on the new Discounted Energy April 2015 is equivalent to around an 11% discount in the first year.

Read our SSE review to find out what customers think about the supplier and how its prices have changed over time.

Energy price comparison confusion

Consumer organisation Consumer Focus told us that switching sites were concerned about how they could fairly show a tariff that changes its discount half way through or includes an upfront incentive, especially as these could be confusing to consumers.  

Switching sites such as Which? Switch follow the voluntary Consumer Focus Confidence Code, which says that introductory offers – such as the £100 sign-up reward - can't be included when they calculate tariff prices. Although cash offers can be shown along with the the tariff, the percentage discount is what would determine where a tariff appears in relation to others. 

Which? calls for simpler energy tariffs

Which? has previously warned consumers signing up to the original Discounted Energy Bonus April 2015 tariff that they would see their bills jump after March 2014, when the discount drops to 2%. For the average customer, the discount change would have meant a £103 price increase. Unclear tariffs like this need to be simplified so consumers can work out the true savings and benefits.

That's why Which? is calling for a single unit rate on energy tariffs. We believe this would prevent confusing deals like SSE’s from coming onto the market and help consumers to get the best deal.

Recently we published our first energy report, The Imbalance of Power, which calls for radical changes to the energy market.

Ofgem proposals

Energy regulator Ofgem is currently proposing that energy companies limit the number of tariffs on offer to four per fuel type - e.g. four for gas and four for electricity - presenting all tariffs as a standing charge and unit rate, and simplifying dual fuel discounts so that they apply across all tariffs as an amount in pounds per year.

If you're looking for a cheaper energy tariff, use our independent online comparison tool, Which? Switch, to compare electricity and gas prices to find the best deal for you.

More on this...

  • Help Which? tackle tariffs by joining our Affordable Energy Campaign
  • Find out how to understand your energy bill
  • Reduce your bills with our top tips on how to use less electricity