Energy suppliers were forced to make their bills easier to understand, but as expected, it doesn’t look like they’ve done a good job. Our gas and electricity bills are just as frustratingly confusing as they’ve ever been.
Last month I doubted annual energy statements would be the silver bullet that puts an end to confusing communication from energy suppliers – and it looks like I was right to be cautious.
This week’s announcement from Consumer Focus (CF) proves my point. The government watchdog has had a good look at the big six suppliers’ annual statements and found that only British Gas’s statement is presented in a way that helps us easily understand how much energy we’ve used.
For me, the one thing an annual statement should do – whether it’s from a bank, your pension fund, or the taxman – is set out clearly what’s been happening on your account that year.
For gas and electricity customers, that means telling you how much you’ve used and how much it cost you. If we’ve got this information, it’s so much easier to shop around for the best deal and find ways to be more energy efficient.
I’m sure the suppliers marked down by CF for this – Eon, EDF, Scottish Power, Npower, or Scottish & Southern – know exactly how much their customers are spending.
They’re certainly quick enough to remind us if a bill goes unpaid for any reason. So why aren’t they able to give us this information once a year in a format we can understand? It’s not that much to ask.
Any more of this and I might start to think that the suppliers have no real interest in us spending less on energy…