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At last, we’ll have advanced notice of energy price rises

Business man with bulb for head

Today brings an end to the outrageously unfair ’65 day rule’ that let energy companies tell you of a price hike weeks after it had happened. With your help, Which? has scored a big win for energy customers everywhere.

Sixty-five working days is a long time in anyone’s book. That’s 13 weeks, a quarter of a year or a whole season.

It’s also the amount of time energy suppliers are allowed to wait until they have to tell you they’ve changed the price of your gas or electricity.

The bonkers 65 day rule

The so-called ‘65 day rule’ has long been a source of indignation at Which? It’s unfair on many levels. Not knowing when prices are changing denies you the opportunity to budget for extra costs or cut your energy use in light of higher prices.

Customers already in debt are likely to accumulate further debts and find it even more difficult to switch to a cheaper tariff or supplier. Finally, it also prevents you providing a meter reading on the day of the change that ensures you’re charged the right amount of units at both the old and new rates.

We’ve been harping on at the regulator Ofgem for the best part of two years to get this blatant injustice righted. Your comments here on Which? Convo have helped back up our work, with Jem saying, “Advance notice yes […] existing customers should be told before the new price comes into effect.”

Ofgem pulls its finger out

Today Ofgem said it will act. Suppliers that don’t back the regulator’s proposals to give customers 30 day’s advance warning of price increases will now be threatened with a referral to the Competition Commission.

This is a great result for both our tireless campaigning and your support in getting a better deal for energy customers. Plus, it’s encouraging to see Ofgem using its teeth for once.

But we don’t think it should stop there. There are still issues around confusing bills, hidden charges, and not moving customers onto cheaper tariffs. So please continue to support our ‘terrible energy tariffs’ campaign by contacting your MP.

Ofgem’s constant stalling on these important issues has made us wonder more than once if ‘protecting consumers’ really is Ofgem’s ‘first priority’.

Comments
Profile photo of Liz Edwards
Member

This is great news, indeed. However, I am shocked at how long it’s taken – two years – for the change to come about when it was clearly unfair from the start. I can’t think of any other industry where companies are allowed to charge you more for their service while you’re using it, and only tell you three months later.

Profile photo of frank west
Member

When will Which? start campaigning for the utility companies to be brought back into public ownership? Electricity, water and gar etc are essential commodities for human survival in the 21st century. This is an undeniable truth. Why have so many companies with these tariffs? Why not one electricity company, acting responsibly? After all these is the biggest single cause of carbon dioxide emissions in the UK

Profile photo of brat673
Member

Another acronym should be imposed on energy companies and that is KISS- Keep it Simple St—d .Don’t allow them to complicate their Prices or Terms or Conditions.