Give the energy companies a good grilling
Ever wanted to put your electricity or gas supplier on the spot about confusing bills, terrible tariffs or questionable sales practices? That’s precisely the opportunity MPs have today.
In a week when British Gas told us to expect further price rises, the Co-op’s announced that it’s joining the energy market, and the Green Deal has faced renewed scrutiny in Parliament; MPs shouldn’t be short of questions for energy bosses.
A radical overhaul’s well over due
The Big Six energy companies are to face the might of the Energy & Climate Change Select Committee today, and top of their agenda will be Ofgem’s recently proposed ‘radical overhaul’ of the energy market.
You may remember that Ofgem’s overhaul was announced to great fanfare in March this year, when the regulator ordered energy companies to sweep away tariff complexity so that households could easily compare prices.
All well and good. But sadly this wasn’t the first Ofgem investigation to show that the energy market is failing consumers. Back in 2008, Ofgem conducted a similar ‘probe’ and told suppliers to stop selling complex and confusing tariffs.
Three years on and the number of tariffs have increased, while customer satisfaction remains lower than in most other industries.
Sort out energy companies MPs
With Ofgem still consulting about its proposed changes, MPs should use this opportunity to stiffen the regulator’s resolve – and not let the energy companies wriggle off the hook.
Ofgem’s recommendations, such as making so-called “standard” or “evergreen” tariffs easily comparable, are a step in the right direction. But why not go further still and make sure that all energy tariffs are fair and transparent?
So come on MPs! Stick up for your constituents and press the energy companies to make tariffs easy to understand and compare against each other – so that we can all find the best deal.
Without such commitments at the Select Committee today, then maybe it will be time for Ofgem to step in and clean up the sector.
What do you think should be done with the energy market? Should the government do more to control energy companies, or can we trust Ofgem and the Big Six to give us a fair deal?
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