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New energy reform proposals too little too late

Hard-pressed consumers need to see radical action

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The latest government proposals do not go far enough to increase competition and reassure consumers about rising energy prices.

In today’s annual energy statement, energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey outlined proposals to change the energy market. Mr Davey’s plans include helping vulnerable households and improving direct debits. He also reiterated plans to introduce yearly reviews of competition within the energy market.

However, more radical changes are needed to help and reassure consumers. 

Responding to the annual energy statement, Which? 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’.

If you’re worried about energy bills you can take action right now by using Which? Switch to compare energy prices and find the best deal for you.

Time to stand up for consumers

Almost eight in 10 people are worried about rising energy costs. Much more must be done to fix the problems that run deep within a market that is dominated by the ‘big six’ energy suppliers.

Mr Lloyd added: ‘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’.

Increasing competition within the wholesale market is the key to driving down prices in the long term. Wholesale prices make up the biggest part of our eye-watering energy bills and this market must also work in the interest of consumers.

Which? is calling on the chancellor to stand up for consumers when he deliver this year’s autumn statement on the 4th December, in the House of Commons.

Making energy switching easier

Mr Davey also proposed telling energy companies to make switching suppliers much faster for consumers, without increasing their bills.

Comparing the energy industry to broadband providers, Mr Davey set out ambitions to reduce the time taken to switch to as little as 24 hours. 

At the moment, switching between energy providers can take up to five weeks.

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