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New annual energy statements – do they help?

Bulb in front of chart

Energy companies are meant to be sending us annual energy statements to help us budget next year’s energy use. Can they help us save on energy bills – or are they just one more thing to add to our confusion?

Have you had your annual energy statement yet? According to uSwitch research, only 37% of us have. This, despite Ofgem (the energy regulator) saying energy companies had to start sending them out by the end of last year.

I’m not even sure if I’ll get one, as they don’t necessarily go to people who have been with their supplier for less than 12 months.

What’s the point of the energy statements?

Firstly, they should predict how much energy you’ll use over the next year, based on what you’ve used for the last. They’re also meant to predict how much you’ll spend, and act as a prompt to remind you to switch. But is this possible, when prices will inevitably rise?

I have to say, I’m not too worried about getting one. I have an online tariff that lets me track how much I’m spending. So overall it gives me a picture of what I’ve used since August, which was when I switched suppliers after moving house.

Can annual statements add value?

In previous Conversations we’ve questioned the value of the annual statement. The research from uSwitch seems to have shown the same issues we’ve been concerned about.

For example, will they really help people manage their energy use? They’re supposed to predict what you’ll spend next year, but we’ve heard they can’t even tell you how much you actually spent last year.

Will people be able to tell the difference between statements and bills – and will they even bother to read them? And for people (like me) who switch before their ‘energy anniversary’, they might not even get one.

Do you think this is the best way for energy companies to communicate information to customers? Have you had your annual energy statement yet – and if so, are they giving you the right information?

Comments
Member

Frankly I think it’s a pointless waste of another sheet of paper.

Member
Brian J says:
22 February 2011

I have had an annual usage statement from E.ON. Trouble is, although this showed my past 12 months usage and my projected costs for the next 12 months, E.ON still want to impose a direct debit of roughly twice that amount!

Member

I don’t think they have any effect on energy use, but they do let us budget for next years energy payments. So they have a use and they will (or should) show consumption trends.

I’ve been talking to Scottish Energy about these annual statements and suggested that they should include a bar chart showing the previous 3-years quarterly consumption figures. We need something useful to come out of this edict from Ofgem.

That leads me to ask why Ofgem are micromanaging trivia instead of researching why we are paying so much for our energy.