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Give customers simple prices & end energy market confusion

Man standing outside a large maze

As another winter of inflation-busting energy price hikes bite, how do you feel about your supplier? Are they top of your Christmas card list? I very much doubt it!

When it comes to trust, the energy industry has just dropped to an all time low. More than half (54%) of the public now say they don’t trust energy companies, putting them second only to car salesmen in the low trust stakes.

It’s no surprise that people feel like that when you look in more depth at the recent price rises. You’ll have seen the recent headlines announcing average increases of 7, 8 or 9% depending on which supplier you’re with. But actually, where you live and how much energy you use could mean that you’re facing a much bigger increase in your monthly bill.

Take SSE customers in the North East. If they’re on the standard dual-fuel tariff, paying by cash and are also low-energy users, they are facing a whopping 17.15% rise for their electricity. Or think about Npower customers in northern Scotland. Low-energy users who pay by direct debit are facing a 15.91% price hike for their electricity, rather than the 9% average.

Energy price rises worst affected regions

It doesn’t have to be like this. Steps can be taken by the government to make competition in the energy market work and keep prices in check. And following the Prime Minister’s commitment in October to force energy companies to move people on to their cheapest tariff, we’ve finally got an opportunity to make this happen.

Single unit price for energy

However, this requires the government to go a step further with its proposals and introduce a single unit price for energy. This will ensure that prices can be easily compared at a glance, like on petrol forecourt displays, allowing people to find the cheapest deals with ease.

Why is this so important? Well, prices will only be kept as low as possible if there is more effective competition between suppliers in the energy market. And there will only be price competition if people can compare their current deal against other offers and easily switch. As things stand, the Prime Minister’s promise should help you get the best price from your existing energy supplier. His promise does not guarantee the cheapest price on the market or a fair price.

And what about switching? We know that some people have found the process frustrating and time-consuming when it comes to moving to another tariff. Switching must be made quicker and easier.

This is why Which? has set out how this can be achieved in a new report called ‘The Imbalance of Power’. Call it our Christmas present to the government and the energy suppliers to help them sort out our broken energy market.

Let’s hope they read it over the holidays and come back in the New Year resolved to ensure that we all get a fairer deal.

Comments

This kind of headline-grabbing initiative is fine, but remember that the companies who supply energy are commercial organisations whose aim is to make an acceptable profit for their shareholders (including you and me if you are in a pension fund!). So whatever tariffs they choose to offer, or have imposed on them, will on average be required to produce the same profit as now – so average bills are not likely to reduce, are they?

Consumers who are less costly to service – those on direct debit for example (no paperwork, cheque processing, chasing payment) – and those who risk a fixed price fixed term contract should benefit by an appropriate saving.

We should also encourage home insulation – whether loft, walls or double glazing – to reduce energy consumption (the best way of reducing your bill) through, for example, low interest loans payed back through savings on your energy bill.

Competition – I thought Which? were successful in switching a large group of consumers to cheaper tariffs earlier this year? So competition works? More of this?

If fracking proves successful then potentially the UK could benefit from lower fuel costs for both gas and electricity. How will this benefit the consumer? Will the savings be through increased tax revenue, or can the government impose a condition on the producers to sell at an agreed price in compensation for the environmental disruption they are permitted to create? (It hasn’t happened with wind farms).

Vic L says:
20 December 2012

I am tempted to ask Malcolm R which energy company ( or their PR dept) he works for?
The argument that the energy companies profits are funding our pension funds is risible. Their profits actually go to predominantly French and German companies..
The excessive profits generated by these companies could be justified if they were to invest them in new UK plants/solar/tidal/etc. The profits actually end up being paid out as share holder dividends – good news if you have a French or German pension fund!
The government seem to have no viable long term plans to resolve the impending energy crisis and it is, as ever, the UK taxpayer who foots the bill for their incompetence.One wonders why this government lacks the will to insist the energy companies make their tariffs transparent and comprehensible?

I trust energy companies, to have their own interests come first and that of the consumers to pay for it it all. Surely its a gross lack of anything from politicians and the regulators that is to blame for allowing energy companies to behave as they have.

Switching is all well and good, but it doesn’t benefit everyone. Last time I switch it was onto a higher tariff, and that was about the then cheapest option available. The only way I can reduce my bills is to use less, so I better switch the PC off now…

And I for one am not convinced about fracking, there’s been too much noise in the states about polluting the water table, so whoopie if we get cheaper energy, it’s likely to be offset by higher water bills to clean the water up.

Wind power is being reduced in Germany, yet we’re still looking to move forward on it. So yet more money wasted and it always the consumer that pays. Nice that isn’t it. NOT

Solar power seems to be the best, if you discount nuclear, for the green initiatives so why is it still so expensive, why not help people generate electricity and to lesser extent hot water. A mass roll out would greatly reduce the cost too.

Why discount nuclear, surely the only sensible solution if shale gas does not save us? And do not quote Chernobyl to me. It was a stupid accident with numerous causes the main of which was fear of Moscow. As for the japanese problems an 8+ richter scale earthquake plus a 15foot tsunami can only be unique to them and a few other well known areas of the world

Personally I’m all in favour of nuclear power, but I know alot of people aren’t. And I don’t think the Japanese would have made so many issues with earthquakes and tsunami’s if they’d replaced their old reactors with newer ones when they were due to be decommissioned years ago rather than extending the life of them, presumably to save money.

FYI 60% of EDFs power comes from its own nuclear stations

I’m glad you live in France, though since Chernobyl managed to contaminate Cumbria I’m still a bit concerned. 🙂

To repeat, wavechange (on 20/12/12):
Chernobyl was stupidity on stupidity on stupidity in fear of their government, who wanted the reactor used for military experiments. It couldn’t happen here because of the heavy layers of physical and human security we had in place then, and which are even stronger now. Look it up – the Russian reactor types had poor safety systems anyway, which have now been corrected worldwide, and when the reactor blew, they’d switched off half of the safeties to do an illegal experiment and most of the rest didn’t work because of shoddy maintenance. Those responsible didn’t live to face trial. “It couldn’t happen here” is actually true in this case.

The fallout over the whole UK was trivial, whatever scaremongering newspapers tried to imply. We in Sherwood Forest got roughly half the fallout of Cumbria (lower land, less rain). A friend who was monitoring it as it came over told me then that he had trouble distinguishing the fallout because our normal background radiation was much stronger than what came on the winds. That is not ‘dangerous’!

I am not so sure, David. I have worked with radioactivity and been responsible for staff using radioisotopes. There is no safe dose. Like many other researchers I switched to using stable isotopes wherever possible to eliminate risks.

I accept that the concerns about fallout in Cumbria were overstated but the fact is that Cumbria was contaminated and precautionary measures were taken. The chance of serious accident is small, but mistakes can be made and we are not short of incompetent people. As I said, there is no safe dose of radioactivity. Everyone needs to learn and understand this.

There’s no safe dose either for the UK’s background radiation, wavechange! To give a useful comparison, in the Aberdeen granite massif, background radiation is higher than in most of the UK because of radon emissions from the fracturing granite (hence houses there having underfloor ventilation) Same for other granite areas like Dartmoor. The background radiation in Aberdeen during the Chernobyl fallout was at about the same level as the fallout. It’s arguable that many of the radioisotopes in the fallout dust were intrinsically more dangerous than the UK’s natural radiation in general, but this was certainly not true around Aberdeen. So why was lamb derived from granite uplands (Lake District, Dartmoor, etc.) condemned from human use then, but not now, when radiation levels are typically ten times as high as in most of the UK? Certainly not for sound scientifically-proven reasons. But maybe politic was involved somewhere? What do you think?

I gave a member of my family a lecture about the problem with radon before she bought a property in Aberdeen. Even taking into account the scaremongering, I would not be keen to live in any of the granite areas in the UK.

As you say, the problem with granite is radon emission, whereas I believe the Cumbria contamination as a result of the Chernobyl accident was with caesium. I don’t have the expertise to compare the relative hazards but I reserve the right to be concerned about the safety of nuclear reactors in the UK.

Agreed. It needs constant monitoring; but that is provided and we do need to keep an eye on the watchman’s watchman!

The main issue with our nuclear power stations is similar. High-level radioactive waste is kept safely in depressions aboveground (there’s a cooling issue) and can safely stay there for centuries as it cools off and until we find a cheap permanent solution (sun-shots?) Low-level waste like clothing and hospital radio-wastes can be safely dumped in concrete in deep seas. But some argue that to decommission a power station when it’s done means to remove it entirely and restore the site to peaceful countryside (as with old coal power stations like Battersea?) This is both dangerous and vastly expensive, as well as unnecessary – Sizewell A and B reactor cores, for example, can simply be mothballed, concrete-cased and left until whenever, while the rest is demolished safely as with any other thermal power station. Maybe they could become an art project? …

Norman Sutherland says:
20 December 2012

Why does not the government start a program of new storage containers for gas and other products that have to be imported.This will level out the market rates. The BIG question is why is this not a consideration – it seems such an easy answer to our energy problems. The politicians are such an educated lot and whatever they say is well thought out before it reaches their lips. So why are they
not thinking about this . It must be that they have enough money generated from their expenses that the can afford their energy needs without ever considering their constituents.

I might be stating the obvious but all this has come about because of privatisation
You only need to look at a trend on a chart relative to when utilities were privatised.
Something so essential to the population should never have been sold off, that is why we will eventually face power cuts as these companies will not re-invest in building new power stations.
They will end up going cap in hand to government and the taxpayer as always will end up paying.
The ones we have are quickly reaching the end of there life then we will be at the mercy of europe having to import more power,which is also restricted by the capacity of the interconnecter

Harry Felgate says:
20 December 2012

prior to privatisation I remember 12hrs on and 12hrs off supplies…3 cheers for privatisation and continuous supplies of power.

It is all very well saying prices must be comparable but this must not be at the expense of a range of tariffs, e.g. across the market, at least one should have no standing charge or daily charge (for very low users). By the time we have direct debit schemes, spread payment schemes, pre-payment meters, dual price tariffs (economy 7), it is difficult to see how the government’s maximum of 4 tariffs is going to work without reducing choice of tariff available and putting up costs dramatically for some users. Imagine someone who uses very little, say a supply to a garage, costing £5.00 per year then finding that he has to pay 17p per day standing charge, bill goes up to £60.00 per year. So much for fairer competition.

Two consortia have built cryogenic storage at Milford Haven to take liquified natural gas from Qatar that will then be distributed through a pipeline.
I would keep the government out of these projects – they are either over budget, expensive PFIs, or incompetently handled (or all three).
Perhaps hot air from the house of Commons could usefully provide local heating needs?

Once more we read on this board what is an “apologist” for what can no longer even be called sharp commercial practice by energy companies but rackettering on a national scale.

The concept that fat profits were good for all was all very well during those post Thatcher days of child-like naivety with uneducated consumers but the “trickle down effect” whereby those with industrial power got rich and we all captured a few crumbs started to die a slow death from 1977 onwards.

Today, the only concern for such companies is greed first, gluttony second, and avarice third, and a club amongst themselves whereby the main objective is to cheat the consummer and laugh all the way to the bank, and then towards an overseas home for retirement, and one that has avoided UK taxation for decades..

It is a different ball game today and the Captain Mannering concept of honesty and integrity started to die on the June general election night of 1979, and was replaced by self interest whereby if ordinary consumers do not seek compensation and fairness then their only destiny is to die a pauper.

Finally, I forgot the Knighthood for industrialist or some other award in the New Year’s Honest List.

Harry Felgate says:
20 December 2012

Has Arthur Scargill still got use of the London flat with all his bills paid and his free car, paid for off the backs of miners?

Do we realy need such left wing rants? Communism died because it just did not work.Civil Searvants are if anything worse at running a big business than entrepreneurs.

I have recently installed P.V.solar panels to my new build.
I fail to see why panels should not be fitted to all new builds where there is a suitable roof.
It would be useful if the panels were constructed as the roof rather than tiles with panels on top.
I was told they get very hot. This might not be true but if it is, why not heat water up under the PV panels, i.e. make roofs out of dual function panels that warm water and generate electricity.

There is something strange about the system of payback we have. I may be wrong but the power companies pay 4.5p per kiloWatt to domestic generators but charge much more. Many generators are out at work while they are generating, so not using their own energy which goes to the power companies very cheaply.

I may be very naive or have missed something, but it seems that domestic generators do not get as good a deal as they might. Would be grateful if someone could explain the flaws in all this.

Harry Felgate says:
20 December 2012

You may not have noticed that now you are using less power, your average price per kWh (standing charge plus cost of units used, divided by units used) has now increased!!!!

Harry Felgate says:
23 December 2012

I too have some PV panels. Where the industry is lacking is in the provision of low power appliances. In full bright conditions I get 3.5kW so I can put on the 3.2kW immersion heater but if the sun goes in it drops to 1kW so I’m importing 2.2kW. I could do with a 1kW immersion heater which will last and doesn’t cost a lot. A 1kW kettle, a 1kW iron, a 1kW washer, 1kW hoover. The solar industry is lagging behind with stuff like this. Yes it all takes longer to boil etc but I’m not in a rush. Make sure you use them one at a time and energy savings mount. The Feed in tariff pays 43.1p per kWh generated (about 3800kWh/annum) by the panels, linked to CPI for 25 years, so we’re all paying for that plus 3 or 4p per kWh exported to the grid. So the power is very handsomely paid for and guaranteed for 25 years.

Harry

Look at the Conversations about old appliances and you will see some complaints about the high power requirements of modern equivalents. You will find electric kettles rated at 1 kW or less though the build quality might not be up to standard. They are often provided in hotel rooms and they are useful for elderly people who would struggle with the weight of conventional kettles. Small immersion heaters are readily available from chandleries, but they are obviously not going to heat water very quickly.

I believe the figure you have quoted for the FIT is out of date.

The FIT has been altered down at least twice since the 43p band, although if you’re on that you stay on that. I think you’ll find the FIT figure for new installations is now around 18p and you must have already shown you’re willingness to save the planet, with double glazing, loft insulation etc otherwise you now won’t see a penny.

Harry Felgate says:
23 December 2012

Wavechange, I quoted what it was when my panels were installed, please accept my apologies for the error.

No problem. You have solar panels, which is more than most of us have done to cut down our demand for electricity.

It was a little unfair that others were having to subsidise those with panels by such a large amount.

Ian McIntyre says:
20 December 2012

Why, in a country surrounded by water, does the government (past and present) never instigate a programme of wave powered electricity stations? After all, the seas are always there, and operating within our own territorial maritime limits should not present any obstacles? Or am I living in cloud cuckoo land?!

I suspect the main reason is its not that cost effective. Just like wind power really, with the fluctuation in weather we get, if its too windy, wind turbines are powered down to avoid damage. Similarly I suspect if the sea gets too rough you get the same thing needed for wave machinery . FYI The US Navy spends millions of dollars a year keeping the bits of subs and ships that live in the water, growth free, and what they need to use must be eco-friendly. And its an ongoing cost until someone invents something that wont attract sea growth ( like barnacles).

And they’d need to utilise tidal motion rather than wave motion too.

Dennis Fuller says:
20 December 2012

As a consumer I like the idea of making comparisons easier, but surely we cannot expect a supplier to install the capital equipment to someone who hardly uses any fuel for part of the year. At one time I used to spend 3 winter months in a warmer country so used only enough fuel to stop pipes freezing.
During this time the supplier still had to recoup something towards the capital cost and maintanance of pipes, genratrors etc. I felt it reasonable to pay the fixed charge during my absence.
If someone purchases a leashold property in a block of flats he has to pay for reair and maintance of roofs, gardens etc. Would you advocate that the flat owner should not contribute to this common expense?
Hvaing a Regulator to determine the maximum fixed charge seems a better safe guard.

Harry Felgate says:
20 December 2012

What would be wrong with adding a little to the cost of kWhs to cover the cost of capital spending and just charge for energy used?

Principled says:
20 December 2012

The issue is that privatisation in respect of an essential service that everyone needs was a nonsense from the start and has failed. We are left with a situation where the generating capacity has not kept up with demand and soon there will not be the reserve capacity to cope with weather fluctuations. The generating plant is on its knees, with sticking plaster maintenance. The question is , why? Well, it is simple. Most of the companies are now FOREIGN owned. In their native countries these companies are strictly controlled on pricing by their respective governments (eg Iberdrola in Spain), it therefore follows that the only place where they are free to extract profits for their shareholders is the UK. Add to this the nonsensical policy of wind turbines (no mention of the CO2 produced by the firm back-up plant that has to be kept running I notice) and we are left with yet another failed system where price obfuscation is the norm. Throw out the Thatcher privatisation blue print and start again. Anything less is yet another sticking plaster solution and the energy sector in the UK has enough of those already.

David B says:
20 December 2012

It is time for the people to see which energy supplier will give the best discount for group purchasing of energy and collective switching.

The group of 8,300 families in Belgium and Holland have managed to get a 22.3% dual fuel discount off the current market price while single fuel (electricity) saw a 20.4% discount off the current market price.
http://www.samensterker.be/

A recent BBC report commented on the collective switching,which could become a model for households to reduce their energy bills.
BBC mentioned in the news report – which was seen on The Six o ‘Clock News and heard on Radio 4 – “This is the model of choice for households to reduce the cost of energy bills in Britain “, underlined Matthew Price. The full article can be viewed online via this link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20067556

Which tried this earlier in the year, and for me, it wasn’t a success at all. Even the best deal they managed to get *The Co-op) was worse than what I was paying already. and EDFs offering was available to anyone and nothing special for a group switch.

K Forsyth says:
20 December 2012

No-one ever mentions the Standing Charges, e.g. on my bill for Oct 2011 to Feb 2012, half of it was for the Standing Charge. The same applies to my last bill for both electricity and gas. Add VAT and other surcharges and the whole bill is enormous yet I am a very moderate user.

Harry Felgate says:
20 December 2012

I so agree with you. The only price should the cost of a kWh….so simple to see which supplier to buy from. This is what Which is campaigning for too. It’s almost impossible for the average person to calculate their use from the baffling tariffs.

As Dennis Fuller says just above, a basic fixed charge to pay for infrastructure is reasonable. After all, we do pay it for everything else that costs to have, even when we’re not using it – car, street lighting, rubbish collection, even a TV. They all depreciate and need both capital replacement costs and maintenance even for low usage. E-ON have just told me that our tariff will get a standing charge soon, as well as a rise in usage charges, and have scrapped the lower charge for the first x KWH. So it looks like a huge increase. So while I approve of standing charges, I think they should not be too high to be reasonable. So Dennis’ suggestion that the Regulator set the standing charge seems a good one.

Norman Sutherland says:
20 December 2012

Why does the government not provide storage containers for gas and other energy products ? This would level out the price as energy volumes and consequently the price would not fluctuate and would also avoid the excuse that the price has risen due to market forces. It seems so simple an answer that there must be an agenda within government circles. The blind alliance that wind will give us all our energy needs is ludicrous because the energy that is found from wind cannot be stored. This is the major fault with wind energy apart from the reliance on a wind source to turn thee turbines.

Stephen says:
20 December 2012

Privatisation has resulted in a cartel arrangement of energy companies, there is in reality no competition. Being more energy efficient means nothing in terms of cost because the energy suppliers increase their charges in order to maintain the same level of profit. We need legislation that links the cost of energy to inflation, no large scale supplier of basic requirements such as this should have the freedom to charge what they want.

David Clough says:
20 December 2012

In the article, Pete Moorey advises a single unit price for ENERGY. I could be persuaded by this idea if he really meant it. I would love to pay the same price for each kilowatt.hour (kWh) of electrical energy as most of the urban population pay for a kWh of energy from gas. Many of us who live in rural areas are not on the gas grid and so are forced to use electrical energy, energy from burning oil or from burning liquid petroleum gas. In our case we only use electricity to provide the energy to run the house so, as a result, our electrical energy consumption is higher than that of the average urban house which uses gas for room heating, hot water and possibly cooking as well.

Our home is highly insulated in the loft, in cavity walls where possible and under the floors. The windows are double-glazed and we have draught proofing were necessary. As a result we use far less energy, in total kWh, than the average equivalent sized detached house. Up until a year ago we were able to choose an electricity tariff which had a relatively large daily charge with a lower than average charge per kWh. This suited our relatively large use of electrical energy in the absence of mains gas and the expensive alternatives of oil and LPG. Our energy company then reduced the number of tariffs available as Which? and the government had encouraged them to do which meant that we were faced with an increase of 58%, yes really, on our annual cost. Obviously we switched to another provider who offered a tariff more suited to those who only use electrical energy in their homes.

In conclusion, bring on the single unit price for ENERGY so long as it is close to the cost of a kWh of energy from gas which is much lower than those off the gas grid, in rural areas, have to pay for each kWh of their energy.

Harry Felgate says:
23 December 2012

When talking of a “single price” I believe it means one price for gas kWh and another for electric kWh, not one price for all energy. Electric is expensive because the efficiency of a gas power station is 35%. Did the good life for some time myself and yes, LPG very expensive now.

Could someone, anyone, out there point me in the direction of positive proof that privatisation of the Electricity Supply Industry has been of quantifiable benefit to the consumer in the UK? It seems to me the industry was “asset stripped” at privatisation – many of the generating plants sold off at a fraction of their replacement costs are still running (albeit clapped out!) and the National Grid has not changed much either. But now, as the capital costs of replacement start to loom large on the horizon, guess who has to pick up the tab – all of us – again! So, we sold off the “family silver” cheap and now we need to pay through the nose to replace it? Dream on if you think a “single tariff” is any answer – these companies have taken a leaf out of the phone companies book and purposely made their tariffs as complicated as possible. Both are examples of a complete failure of the regulatory system that was supposed to protect us! You just don’t get it if you think a “single tariff” is going to be any solution to our energy problems (any more so than hordes of absolutely useless windmills with their 15% availability). Sorry, but the whole system is FUBAR (you can work that one out for yourself!).

Harry Felgate says:
20 December 2012

We’ve not had 12hrs on and 12hrs off electricity supplies. That’s the benefit.

Harry Felgate says:
20 December 2012

We are paying through the nose because energy is in short supply and high demand AND it’s gonna get WORSE never better……..conserve now!

Harry Felgate says:
20 December 2012

Just read your harsh words T1tone. Are you saying there wasn’t any prolonged period of 12 on 12 off? I’m sure millions of us remember that. Like the petrol blockade it was caused by a few selfish people who held us to ransom just for the hell of it. What does it matter how cheap it is if you can’t find any or the electric is off? British Steel failed because it couldn’t compete with price and now an Indian Co has got Redcar back on it’s feet. I rest my case though I see Arthur Scargill will be in court tomorrow presenting his case for his free London flat, his bills paid, his car, he will have repaid his interest free loan from the Union to buy his house, oh good on you Arthur.

Harry Felgate says:
20 December 2012

I think we can all agree that companies must make profits. We should also all agree that energy reserves are being depleted and the price will continue to rise. Energy conservation is very important and should be actively encouraged. Standing charges and 2 tier tariffs mean low users pay the highest price per unit for energy used, high users pay the least. We all pay the same price for petrol, there’s no standing charge, why not kWhs? Someone using 2000 kWh will pay about £350 for their electricity, that’s 17.5p/kWh. Someone using 10000 kWh will pay about £1150 for their electricity, that’s 11.5p/kWh. This is unfair on low users who are generally low income households and does not encourage high users to reduce their consumption. If all we only paid for kWh used the price would be around 14p/kWh. A saving of £70 for the frugal and an increase of £250 for the “don’t care how much we use” wasters. A 100% fair system and easy for people to see how much kWhs cost just like it’s easy to see the price of petrol……simples.

To Harry Felgate – Your comment about “12 hours on and 12 hours off” as a justification for privatisation is absolute, total and utter rubbish! I won’t apologise for those harsh words because you don’t appear to have a clue what you’re talking about. Check the facts of history – the CEGB was was the cornerstone of the British electricity industry from 1957. It had its origins in the post-war period, when electricity demand grew rapidly, but PRIVATELY owned plant and fuel availability was often unreliable – is that when you remember the 12 on/12 off supply? Because that’s when it was most likely! The mission of the CEGB was to provide an adequate and secure electricity supply, or “to keep the lights on” as they put it, rather than necessarily pursuing the cheapest generation route.

Lostina says:
20 December 2012

Pensioners are struggling my rise in pension over last 5 years has been approximately £20.00
Less each year than the rise in bills hence I am £100.00 a month down on my income in the last
5 years.

I have friends that have to choose between warmth and food at some time during the day. I appreciate that these Aare commercial businesses in it for profit, but does their net profits have to be that high????
The MP’s on their salaries and coming from privileged background have no understanding about the
normal working man, perhaps some people who live in the real world should be integrated
Into their discussions so they CAN understand.

Harry, there is a misconception that high-fuel users are wealthy, and low are poor. it depends on your family size, the type of property you own, how exposed it is to the weather, where you are geographically – and so on. The issue about standing charge vs two-tier tariffs is simply one of how the administration, equipment for and its maintenance for the supply to each consumer is paid for – each takes a share, or one subsidises another?

Also, wastage is a major contribution to use by high-fuel users.

Harry Felgate says:
20 December 2012

I did say “generally speaking” big consumers are usually quite well off whereas low users tend to be low income people. The people that use the most power and gas, for wharever reason, will cause the most wear and tear on the system….like big car users pay the most road tax. So why does everybody pay the same standing charge? What would be wrong with a single charge per kWh? With that in place everybody would be able to work out which supplier to go with….like we can all work out where to buy our petrol!!!