What a week. The Prime Minister promised energy companies would be forced to give customers their lowest tariff; Parliament scheduled urgent questions; and Ofgem promised to reform energy tariffs.
We’ve been campaigning on energy for a number of years, so we’re delighted that our demand to tackle tariffs has finally made it to the top of the political agenda and newspaper front pages.
Our executive director Richard Lloyd wrote to the Prime Minister earlier this week calling for an urgent independent review of rising energy prices to help us determine whether the energy companies’ reasons are justified. And as we tuned in to watch Prime Minister’s Questions we were bowled over by his bold commitment.
Prime Minister should keep his promise
Now some commentators are happily branding the government’s commitments to get people on to the lowest energy tariffs as a ‘shambles’. But I’m sure the rest of us will be delighted to see the PM acknowledging that the energy market is not working for consumers – and that he’s committed to making sure we all get the best deal.
His promise has since been followed up with new commitments from the energy regulator, Ofgem. It has promised to simplify the bewildering array of complex and confusing energy tariffs. And it’s come up with proposals that may make it easier to find the cheapest deal.
Thousands of you got behind our call for Ofgem to tackle tariffs, emailing its chief executive to demand action. And Ofgem has admitted that it has gone further with their tariff proposals due to your pressure – so a big thank you from me and all of our energy team.
Keeping the pressure on
We also know that there is still work to be done. Firstly, we need to make sure that the pressure is kept on the politicians and regulator to act. We want no rowing back from the promises made in Parliament. We ran a quick poll on Facebook to find out if you thought David Cameron should keep his promise and so far the vast majority of you have said yes.
Next up, we need to make sure that the detail of these commitments is worked through. One of the key things for us is the ability for you to compare energy tariffs at a glance by quickly looking at the unit price and immediately finding the cheapest.
So the key questions are – will Ofgem’s proposals really allow us to quickly compare deals? And will the PM’s promise mean that we all get the best deal?
We’ll be studying every consultation document and piece of legislation to make sure that the final proposals stack up and are in our interest. And if they aren’t, we’ll keep campaigning until they get it right.
Fair prices we can trust
Finally, we know that this is still only one part of creating an energy market that really works for consumers. That is, a market that gives us fair prices we can trust.
We’ve called the events of the last week – ‘big moments’, ‘big statements and ‘big step forwards’, but the battle for a better energy market doesn’t end here. This is a golden opportunity to secure changes that Which? has been campaigning on for years – let’s hope the politicians and the regulator can now deliver.