Energy consumers bamboozled by their billsThree quarters find energy bills very complicated

19 April 2015

Complicated bills

New Which? research reveals that three quarters of you are completely confused by your energy bills, with 74% of people who receive energy bills finding them very complicated. 

Those that found energy bills very complicated by far outstripped other household bills, as you can see from the image, right. 

Our research, where we surveyed nearly 1,600 Which? members about their household bills, also revealed that 18% of the people we asked are not confident they can check the accuracy of their energy bill. It's vital to be able to do this if you want to be sure you're not paying more than you should for energy.

Which? believes that energy bills should be easy to understand, which is why we are running a campaign calling for fair energy prices

Energy bills still too complicated

Standing charge, kWh, calorific value, unit rate. These are all terms that consumers might find confusing on their gas and electricity bills. Plus how easy is it to find on your bill the details of the tariff you're on and how much gas and electricity you use? And this is the information you need if you want to compare deals and switch. 

We also found that only 30% are completely confident they could check the accuracy of their energy bills.

And this is despite new rules introduced a year ago by the energy regulator, Ofgem, to make energy bills clearer. 

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said: 'Despite efforts to make bills simpler to understand, our research shows people are still bamboozled. Consumers can’t tell whether they are getting a fair deal from their energy supplier and are losing out as a result.

'We want the Competition and Markets Authority to force suppliers to make bills clearer by adopting simple pricing, like you see on a petrol forecourt. In a truly competitive energy market people should be able to spot the cheapest deal at a glance, making it easier to switch supplier.'

Fixed tariffs cheaper

Separate Which? research has also revealed that moving to a fixed deal will save most people money. Around three-quarters of us are on suppliers’ standard tariffs and these have increased in price on average by 4% (or £44 a year) in the past two years. 

Yet fixed tariffs have dropped by an average of 7% (or £83 per year) in the same period. 

Most of the cheapest deals currently on the market are fixed deals, which are typically 10% cheaper than standard tariffs. To find out which ones are the cheapest deals at the moment and how you could save over £200, read our story on the top five cheapest energy deals for April

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