You’ve spoken out about your gas and electricity suppliers and it’s clear you’re unhappy. So how have gas and electricity suppliers come to incite such bad feelings, and why do we trust them less than we trust banks?
The average gas and electricity bill could defy the best cryptographer. We dutifully pay our bills, but few of us have any idea where the money’s actually going – and it’s far from easy to find out.
Ofgem says that the average dual fuel bill for this year is £1,150. Less than half of that (£495) pays for the wholesale cost of the energy you use – so where does the rest go?
Transparency from suppliers
The extra costs cover anything from the supplier’s profit (which has soared yet again for Big Six suppliers) to customer service staff wages – but none of this is easy to work out from your bill. Here’s a breakdown of where your money goes (click to enlarge):
On top of that, the government has introduced a whole raft of mysterious acronyms – social and environmental schemes from CERT to EEC to CESP to ROCs – some of which you’re paying for.
We’re less than impressed
In our recent satisfaction survey only 12% said they think energy companies are open and honest about costs buried in bills, and nearly nine in 10 bill payers would like details of charges beyond energy consumption.
So are there any alternatives out there? Ebico – which came third in our satisfaction survey – charges all its customers the same rate, even if you’re on a pre-pay meter (where households who are typically worse off are usually charged more).
One of the winners in our survey, Ovo Energy, was established as an alternative to the big suppliers and provides a breakdown of its costs on its website. It also pays 3% on all credit balances – it looks like I’d be better off banking with them at that rate of interest.
With newcomers like this, is the tide finally turning on the ‘Big Six’ suppliers that dominate the market? Do you trust your energy company – or have you considered turning your back on them to see what the others have to offer?
Which? Members can join our team of energy experts on 27 January from 12.30pm for a special live energy Q&A session. They’ll be answering your energy questions – from getting yourself on a better tariff to troubleshooting problems with your supplier.