The Chancellor today delivered his Autumn Statement in the House of Commons, where he reiterated the government’s plans to cut energy bills.
Four days ahead of the Autumn Statement, the Government announced proposals to cut back on the levies we all pay for on our bills. It says this will save the average household £50 on their energy bills, and all the major suppliers have promised to pass on the savings.
Just over a month ago, we called on George Osborne to stand up for consumers on 5 December and cut the Big Six and the cost of government energy policy costs down to size.
So we’re pleased to see that he has risen to the challenge and taken a welcome step in the right direction for those who are struggling with the increased cost of living.
This is an important move for the more than 43,000 of you who supported our campaign, and the eight in 10 people who told us they were worried about energy prices.
However, the biggest elephant in the room remains: until the Government commits to separating energy generation from supply to make the wholesale market more competitive, there is no guarantee that energy prices will be kept in check.
And the Government must be able to demonstrate that the policy costs that they are still passing through onto our bills for smart meters and the carbon floor price are rigorously scrutinised and kept as low as possible.
So you've cut them down, George. But there is more to do.
We’ll carry on calling for changes to make the market more competitive and to get better scrutiny of all energy policy costs. Major reform is needed make this market work so that consumers get fair energy prices.
In the meantime, why not help make change happen by supporting one of our other campaigns.
Four days ahead of the Autumn Statement, the Government has announced proposals it says will save the average British household £50 on their energy bills.
Today the Government confirmed it would take action by cutting back on the levies we all pay for on our bills. Thanks to your support for our campaign, the message seems to have got through – we need to see our sky rocketing bills brought under control.
The Warm Home Discount will still be available for vulnerable households, but this will now be paid for by the Government and not through your energy bills. The cost of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), an insulation scheme, will also be reduced. These are both changes we've been calling for as part of our 'Cut them down, George' campaign.
It's about time the Government started getting the cost of energy under control and this is a welcome step in the right direction for everyone who's struggling with the increased cost of living.
Our executive director Richard Lloyd said:
'It is right to refocus the Energy Company Obligation so that it gives greater priority to those most in need of help with lower cost measures such as loft and cavity wall insulation. But in return for more time to get this right, the suppliers must now commit to greater transparency and to getting their costs down, fast.'
All of the Big Six energy suppliers have confirmed that they'll pass these savings on to their customers. British Gas, for example, will cut its gas and electricity prices by 3.2% in January 2014 for an average dual fuel saving of £53. Others have said they won't increase prices before 2015, provided wholesale costs don't increase.
Richard Lloyd added:
'We must also see a comprehensive review of the Government's energy efficiency policies in the longer term and wider reform of the market to make it truly competitive.'
We'll continue to work on cutting energy costs and ensure the Government and energy companies keep to their commitments.
Successive governments have introduced schemes designed to help people make their homes more energy efficient. And yet more than half of Britain’s 27 million homes still don’t have adequate insulation.
We estimate these policies have cost £8.4bn from 2008 to 2015. Yet, because these policies haven't been closely monitored, it’s impossible to know whether they provide value for money.
Today we’re calling for a radical change in the way energy efficiency measures are delivered, targeted and evaluated. You can read the detail of what we want in The Challenge of Energy Efficiency report (PDF).
Our executive director Richard Lloyd said:
‘Saving energy to save money is a no brainer but so far no Government has got a proper grip on energy efficiency, despite schemes costing consumers billions.
‘With rising energy prices consistently the top worry for people it’s time for a radical overhaul of energy efficiency policies to help the millions of hard-pressed consumers who are facing another freezing winter.’
Six in 10 people have told us it would make a big difference to their standard of living if George Osborne cut their energy bills.
This is why we're calling on the Chancellor to use his Autumn Statement on 5 December to take action, by cutting the cost of Government energy policies down to size. You can help by emailing your MP to take action, and by telling your friends and family to do the same.
We've only got 10 days until George Osborne gives his Autumn Statement on 5 December. Can you help convince him to cut down our energy bills in time?
More than 33,000 people have signed our petition asking the Chancellor to cut our energy bills. But with just 10 days to convince him, we need to up the ante.
Will you take two minutes to email your MP and ask them to appeal directly to George? Simply pop in your postcode and name, and we'll do the rest.
EDF has announced that it is increasing its energy prices by 3.9% - currently the smallest price rise of the Big Six energy suppliers. The company says its new average standard variable price will now be £1,300, a rise of £49 a year.
EDF joins British Gas, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE with its price hikes. Npower's price increase of 10.4% on dual-fuel bills has been the hardest hitting of the rises to date.
While any increase is bad news for hard-pressed consumers, today's announcement will make people question why other major suppliers have hit their customers so much harder.
Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd said:
'People want to hear more than just tough talk from the politicians - they want to see tough new action to fix our broken energy market, not tinkering at the edges while consumers grapple with the rising cost of living.'
With trust at rock bottom and record numbers very worried about rising energy costs, we're calling on the Chancellor to stand up for consumers when he stands up in the House of Commons to deliver this year’s Autumn Statement.
You can help by signing our petition and asking your friends and family to do the same.
Consumer trust in the energy industry has hit rock bottom since four of the Big Six energy suppliers announced their price rises.
Just one in seven people say they trust energy companies to act in their best interest – the lowest since our Consumer Insight Tracker launched in July 2012. This compares to one in four before the price rises were announced.
In fact, energy is now the most distrusted of all consumer industry sectors (59%), lower than banking (33%), car salesmen (55%) and train companies (27%).
We’ve also found that the number of people worrying about energy prices has rocketed. Energy is now top of the list of consumer worries - eight in ten people are worried about energy prices, the highest this has been since October last year.
What we’ve heard from the Government so far is too little, too late - we need to see radical changes now. This is why we’re calling on the Chancellor to stand up for consumers when he delivers his Autumn Statement on 4 December.
George Osborne should cut the Big Six down to size to get competition into the market, and the cost of government energy policies should be cut back too. You can help by signing our petition, like Beryl has:
‘Time for action NOW. The debate has gone on long enough. It’s now up to George O to break the deadlock before the winter sets in so keep the campaign going Which?’
In his annual energy statement, Ed Davey announced plans to make switching suppliers simpler and quicker; to make suppliers more transparent on their profits and prices; regular checking that the market is working; and increasing penalties for market manipulation.
Mr Davey said:
‘The energy industry needs to change to put consumers in control. That means making it easy for people to change supplier to save money, it means regular market assessments to check their behaviour, and it means tougher penalties for market manipulation and putting an end to opaque finances.’
Responding to the annual energy statement, our executive director Richard Lloyd said:
‘There will be no great applause from the millions of consumers worrying about rising energy costs for the Government committing to make the regulators simply do their job.
‘There is a huge weight of expectation that the Government and regulators will now deliver the radical changes that consumers need. Structural reforms to separate the wholesale energy market from domestic supply, and the Government cutting the costs its policies add to consumers’ bills, are needed to effectively keep prices in check.’
We’re calling on George Osborne to stand up for consumers when he stands up in the House of Commons to deliver this year’s Autumn Statement on 4 December. Help us turn up the heat on the Chancellor – sign our petition.
Today we launch our new campaign calling on the Chancellor to take action on rising energy prices.
With almost eight in 10 people worried about rising energy costs and the suppliers being hauled in front of the Select Committee to justify their price hikes, we want George Osborne to stand up for consumers when he delivers this year’s Autumn Statement on 4 December.
Last week four in 10 people told us they can’t reduce energy use any further as they’ve already cut down as much as they can. And three in 10 say they don't know how they will heat their homes this winter.
Our executive director Richard Lloyd said:
‘Consumers have been left reeling by the recent round of inflation busting price hikes. People need help to cope with the rising cost of their energy bills – and they need it now.’
We think the Chancellor can make a real difference by cutting the Big Six energy companies and the cost of unaffordable government policies down to size.
George can cut the Big Six down to size by committing to separate energy generation from supply and by holding the companies to account.
And we’ve given him four ways to cut government policies down to size by: taking the Warm Home Discount off bills, re-thinking the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO), halting the smart meter roll out and scrapping the carbon floor price. Together these changes could save consumers around £1.8bn on their energy bills.
We only have a few weeks to convince George Osborne to take action – help us by signing our petition.
Energy bosses from the Big Six suppliers (SSE, British Gas, Eon, Npower, EDF and Scottish Power) will face the Energy and Climate Change Committee to try and justify their recent price rises.
Scottish Power is to raise the average prices of their customers' duel fuel bills by 8.6%, gas by 8.5% and electricity by 9%. The changes come into effect on 6 December 2013.
Scottish Power follows in the footsteps of British Gas, SSE and Npower by hiking its prices. This is another blow to the 8 in ten people who are already worried about the cost of energy.
Just two of the major energy companies have yet to hike prices. In recent years we've seen a domino effect on energy price rises, so we're expecting the remaining energy suppliers to follow suit.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: 'The Prime Minister is right to carry out a review of competition in the energy market but that won't help cash-strapped consumers who are struggling this winter.'
Rising energy prices are consistently one of the top worries for consumers so everything possible must be done to ensure competition is working and prices are kept in check.
We need to break the stranglehold of the biggest energy companies by separating domestic supply from generation and the government must make sure its own policies are not adding unnecessary costs to consumers' bills.
Help us take action on energy by signing your name for our energy prices campaign.
Npower’s price rise of 9.3% on electricity and 11.1% on gas will affect customers from 1 December, adding around £137 to a dual-fuel customer’s annual bill.
Combine this with price rises from both SSE and British Gas, consumers face yet another winter of discontent. But with energy costs likely to continue to rise over the next 10 years, the woeful lack of scrutiny of energy prices can no longer be allowed to continue.
As far as the Hinkley nuclear deal, it has effectively been done without any transparent or independent scrutiny. And no mechanism has been put in place to refund consumers, if we find out down the line that this deal has in fact been poorly negotiated and an energy company has received a nice windfall at our expense.
The government should set up an independent expert review, which can report to Parliament, looking at all energy policy costs - both hitting us now and in the future. This should assess whether we’re all getting value for money and importantly it should recommend areas where savings can be made.
We also desperately need to give the National Audit Office more responsibility reviewing energy costs so that the kind of decisions like today's over Hinkley are held to account.
Without this, we simply won't have confidence that our money is being spent wisely. Help us take action on energy by signing our energy prices petition.
In a massive blow to millions, British Gas today announced a 9.2% price rise on the average household energy bill, following SSE's 8.2% price rise announcement.
British Gas today announced a 10.4% rise in electricity prices and an 8.4% hike for gas, hitting 7.8 million households next month. That will result in an average rise of £123 for dual-fuel customers.
This follows on the back of SSE’s 8.2% price rise announcement, which will typically add around £106 to dual-fuel customers’ annual bills.
In recent years we’ve seen a domino effect on energy price rises, so we’re expecting other energy suppliers to follow suit.
In response to British Gas’ price rise announcement, our executive director Richard Lloyd said:
‘Current plans to reform the energy market simply don’t go far enough. We want the government to intervene to make sure everything possible is done to keep prices in check.’
Help us take action on energy by signing our energy prices campaign. And if you’re frustrated with British Gas’ latest price rise, show them what you think by sharing our picture on Twitter.
More than 15,000 people have added their support for our simple energy price campaign! Thanks to all of our new supporters, including David, who was our 15,000th supporter.
We're campaigning for a single unit price, so that you can spot the cheapest energy deal as easily as you can identify the cheapest petrol prices on the forecourt. This would empower you to switch to the best gas or electricity deal for you. Will you join us and more than 15,000 others in calling for simple energy prices? Sign our petition.
In his speech at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, Ed Miliband said:
‘The next Labour government will freeze gas and electricity prices until the start of 2017. Your bills will be frozen, benefiting millions of families and millions of businesses.
The Labour leader also pledged to abolish Ofgem and replace it with a new regulator that would challenge companies and keep prices down.
In response to Ed Miliband’s announcement, our executive director Richard Lloyd said:
‘Ed Miliband's promise to fix the broken energy market and freeze prices will give hope to the millions worrying about how they can afford to heat their homes. We now look forward to seeing the detail of how this will work.’
Which? research shows that energy prices are consistently one of your top concerns, and wholesale costs are the biggest part of rising household energy bills. This is why we want energy companies to separate generation from supply to introduce competition and keep prices in check.
In another party conference speech, Labour’s Caroline Flint backed this call by pledging to stop energy companies from doing business behind closed doors. She explained that this would require separating the power stations from the companies that send you your bill, just like banks will have to separate their investment arms from high-street branches.
Caroline Flint added that, under Labour, there would be one standing charge and one unit price on energy bills.
We’ve been calling for more radical action as part of our simple energy prices campaign.
We want there to be a single unit price, without a standing charge, so that you can spot the cheapest deal as easily as you can identify the cheapest petrol prices on the forecourt. This would empower you to switch to the best energy deal for you.
And, as of today, 15,000 of you back this call for simple energy prices.
Rising energy prices are consistently one of our biggest worries, but many don’t switch because the market’s too complicated. And our latest research shows a huge variation in standing charges.
Most energy firms split their prices into a confusing array of different rates and standing charges. And our latest investigation has revealed the huge variation in standing charges for just one customer.
We looked at the range of gas, electricity and dual fuel deals on offer for one customer – we found 109 different tariffs including some 75 different standing charges!
And if you think that’s mind-blowing, then factor in all the different regional variations, types of meter, payment methods and so on and you’ll find thousands and thousands of different prices across the country.
This bewildering array of charges is yet another example of how the energy market’s too confusing for us to find the best deal. That’s why we’re calling for simple tariffs, without standing charges, displayed in the style of petrol forecourt prices.
Ofgem’s current reforms to simplify the energy market don’t go far enough, as companies will still be allowed to include a standing charge and a unit price. If the government fails to take more radical action we won’t feel confident that we’re paying a fair price for our energy.
Do you find gas and electricity standing charges confusing?
When the tariffs were presented in the style of a petrol forecourt display, using a single unit price as championed by us, the number shot up to eight in 10.
In addition, two thirds of people said they preferred the single unit price model compared to just one in 10 for the TCR. Our model also scored highly in terms of ease of understanding, speed of use and helpfulness.
Which? campaigns to make people's lives simpler and fairer. Get involved in our latest campaigns and find out how to take action. Let's make change happen.