Has autumn’s arrival prompted you to think about your energy bills? At Which?, we’re renewing our efforts to tackle the UK’s energy issues and have launched a new campaign to get you a fair price for energy.
Our latest research reveals just one in five people trust suppliers to charge a fair price for their energy and more than half say it’s difficult to compare the prices of different energy deals.
We found that just one in six people trust energy companies to act in our best interests, and only a quarter rate their supplier for offering them a fair price.
We think you should be able trust that the price you pay for energy is fair. With the energy market having been referred to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for investigation we have launched our ‘Fair Energy Prices’ campaign to ensure changes in the market make a difference to your household finances.
Energy ‘price to beat’
We believe that people need a credible, independent benchmark – a ‘price to beat’ – against which to compare prices. Energy suppliers would compete against this ‘price to beat’, which would be set and regularly updated by the energy market regulator. This would not be a return to full price regulation and it could take a number of forms and similar models that already exist in parts of the US and Northern Ireland.
We’re calling on the CMA to investigate the best way for the regulator to establish a ‘price to beat’, so that consumers can trust that the price they pay is fair.
Simple energy pricing
We are also calling for energy suppliers to be required to use simple, directly comparable pricing, similar to petrol pump displays. The benefit of this is that people can more easily compare prices and make the best choice if they choose to switch.
You’ve been widely supportive of this in idea in the past, as Wavechange told us:
‘For me the top priority is to have simple unit pricing so that anyone capable of comparing the price of petrol or the price of groceries can see which energy company is offering the best deal.’
‘If I use my car much more than someone with the same size car engine, I will pay more. A larger household will use much more energy and nobody is subsidising anyone if there is only a unit price.’
So how do you think a ‘price to beat’ could help you with your energy bills? Would you be more confident in having a benchmark to compare prices against? How do you judge whether you should switch suppliers?