‘I’d like to use my heating in winter and not just when people visit.’ That was only one of many comments we’ve had from the more than 203,900 of you who have signed our petition for fair energy prices.
This week the Government has written to the Big Six energy firms asking them if energy prices accurately reflect their costs after falls in the cost of wholesale energy.
Our analysis suggests standard variable energy tariffs have not kept in line with wholesale prices over the past two years.
The stories you’ve shared make it clear just how urgently action is needed. Here are just some of the comments from people who’ve told us how energy prices affect them.
Why cutting energy bills matters
Helen, from Southampton, said:
‘Gas and electricity payments represent over 17% of my income. I have a one-bed flat, do not own a TV, radio, toaster etc. and still my bills are too high for me to keep up with. I’d love to be able to shower and do the washing up every day, I’m terrified of the cost, so I don’t. How families with young children manage is beyond me.’
Garth, from Basingstoke, said:
‘I am retired and prices seem to rise at a greater rate than my pension.’
Alan from Blackwell told us that while he felt he was ‘a reasonably sophisticated consumer’, bills are incomprehensible and comparisons ‘nearly impossible’.
Kathryn, from Sheffield, said:
‘Although we check our prices every year there are a lot of older people who do not have the internet access we do and find it too hard to get the comparative information.’
What we think should happen
We did our own analysis of wholesale costs and energy bills earlier this year. We found that UK bills could have been £2.9bn lower over the last year (£145 per household).
We think it’s good that Ministers are acting, but we now need to see suppliers do the right thing and fast. Energy firms have totally run out of excuses for not cutting our bills. If they don’t play ball it will add weight to the case for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to step in and force the energy firms to make bills fair.
The CMA is currently undertaking a wide-ranging investigation into the energy market to see if competition is working properly.
The Government’s Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said her focus is to get the best deal for consumers and the department is working hard to keep energy bills as low as possible.
How are energy prices affecting you? Have you switched suppliers and has this helped keep costs down?