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Scottish Power increase prices, but I’ve got the power to leave

Energy prices sign

Don’t all laugh at once, but I’m with Scottish Power, the energy company that’s just announced price rises of 19% (gas) and 10% (electricity). And if you think that’s bad, just wait until your provider follows in their footsteps.

I’ve got a confession to make. I’m a serial energy switcher. Ever since I had control over my own bills I’ve hopped from company to company without so much as a smidgeon of loyalty.

When it comes to other products and services I’ll happily pay a bit more for a brand I love, or a service that I think is decent (take a bow, Virgin Media), but with energy companies there’s nothing to make me stay when the price goes skywards.

With energy companies I have never noticed any difference in service – only in price. Poor customer service, confusing bills and a bewildering array of tariffs – should I go for the ‘Fixed Eco Net Doubleplusgood’ tariff, or the ‘Mega-Discount 14 Saver’ tariff?

That’s why the second I saw the announcement that Scottish Power had hiked prices again, I headed straight to Which? Switch. Loyalty doesn’t help me save cash, and when it comes to energy I’m all about the money.

Paying the price of staying put

I know the old argument – switching takes ages. It’s time-consuming, it’s a hassle, and you can’t even guarantee that your new price will be a bargain beyond the first couple of months.

Perhaps I’ve been lucky, but I’ve never found it that difficult to switch. Yes, I’ve had problems, the most notable being when npower and Scottish Power found it impossible to talk to each other, and insisted on both charging me for the same batch of electricity. But they got it sorted out after a couple of emails, and it was worth it to get onto a cheaper deal.

And it will be worth it again if I can switch to a cheaper deal. With price increases of almost 20%, the average household’s energy bills could rise by £175 per year. I think that’s worth a few phone calls and a bit of hassle.

Will you be swayed to switch?

I understand people who don’t want to worry about the hassle, but I think we often assume that switching is like a perilous mountain that will take eons to scale.

First you find a cheaper deal, then you put in all your details, then you switch. After that you wait months and months for your energy company to sort things out, while you take an almost infinite number of meter readings and phone them every five minutes to make sure they haven’t accidentally cut you off or hurled your details into a fiery pit.

Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s annoying, but not that annoying, and it’s definitely worth it to save nearly £200 and feel smug when you read headlines like: ‘£220 shock on your bill’ or: ‘Families stunned as power bills soar to £1,391’.

So what about you? Energy bills are one of the big financial concerns for UK consumers. Is there anything that could make you stay with your energy company, besides the price? And are these latest hikes going to sway you into switching?


I am with them but capped until next year thankfully and they were very cheap when I signed up – Of course I will have to move or renegotiate once the term is up. However, what really grates is the complete lack of price drops when wholesale prices go down – Of course SP aren’t the only guilty ones here – Maybe you guys can check but have there been any price reductions from the main players in the last 5 years? If not then something is up and OFWAT or whoever regulates the industry needs to kick some ****.


Scottish Power too! Locked in until end of October. However we have a 1-bed flat and I’m so tight I make my husband turn almost everything off at the wall, so we’ve built up loads of credit so hopefully we won’t owe anything when we switch in November. Disappointly Co-op was “only £240 more” than our current deal. I could cope with about £50 extra a year to change to them, but £240 is more than we’ve spent since switching in July (so been with them since Sep/Oct)!


I’m currently with Scottish Power too – though I’m one of the ‘lucky’ 700K customers on a fixed online tariff who won’t be affected by this rise. I’ve actually found SP to be pretty good in terms of customer service, but come next year when the tariff ends, I’ll be off if I can find a better deal elsewhere.

I’m with you on the serial switching front Nikki. I’ve switched suppliers quite a few times now, and haven’t had any major problems (thus far, anyway). Granted, it can be a bit of a hassle – but rather that than be rewarded for your loyalty by ending up on a less competitive deal.

Davy says:
8 June 2011

I am puzzled by the Nikki Whiteman’s gushing encouragment to keep switching. Most suppliers now apply cancellation charges of about £50 which often makes it uneconomical to switch before the end of the contract.


Hi Davy – that’s a good point, and of course there will be some people for whom it doesn’t make sense to switch at the moment. Fixing into a contract can be a good way to sidestep price rises, like Kelly above who won’t be affected by the rises while she’s fixed and may get charged a hefty fee for leaving early. So, of course, if it doesn’t make economical sense to switch then you shouldn’t.

The scenario I was trying to address in the conversation above was mainly for all those who, like me, will be affected by the price hikes straight away. Even if I were charged £50 to leave Scottish Power (which I don’t think I will be as I’m not on a fixed tariff) it will still be worth moving if I can save £175!


I’ve signed up early with EDF to continue with them, then they just put a daily charge on. The truth is non of them are honest or up front. I got an £84 refund about 2 years after leaving the previous supplier as I didnt understand the pricing structure and was obviously not alone. Any company that starts off with a level priceing structure ends up changing it, also the old method of increasing the standing order to an excessive amount is the final straw they always do before you move. It is not surprising that cannabis growers seem to be able to bypass the meter and get free electricity with impunity, there must be a lot doing the same without growing a cash crop – this probably correlates with having no car insurance. I am wondering if I have solar power it is worth paying extra to be able to disconnect from the network completely.


I had a similar thing with NPower before I moved – as soon as winter was over they changed they upped the daily gas service charge by 75% for the summer – criminal

Another good plan when shifting is to go via the cashback websites – say quidco or topcashback – If you time it well you can get 150 quid back on the first year – which is a pretty significant % of the yearly cost – do that each year and the savings add up. For example with my SP contract I got 150 quid on sign up and 150 quid just before the anniversary


Though I’ve heard on the grapevine that SP are no longer giving cashback through Quidco


True but for example NPower are giving 80 at the mo – As I said it varies but is is worth considering

Roger Neal says:
8 June 2011

I too am with Scottish Power, and am on a capped tariff until Sep 30 2011. Will they charge me for changing early, before their existing capped 2013 tariffs have been withdrawn? Also is the “Platinum” tariff with boiler maintenance included a worthwhile option with a 10 year old Potterton Suprima boiler?

Davy says:
8 June 2011

At the beginning of June I applied to Scottish Power to transfer from British Gas to Online Energy Saver 14. Due to the SP price rise announced today, I phoned to cancel but was told that the price ranges do not affect all their tarrifs and the price of OES 14 will not be raised in August.
This is very puzzling cos the press release does not mention this.

Davy says:
8 June 2011

The Scottish Power phone help desk is really beginning to worry me.
So far today they have told me that
– the price rises will not affect the tarrif i am apply for (Online Energy Saver 14). Yet the press release, if being reported accurately, states that all products except fixed rate will be affected
– that if I receive a notification of a price rise then I will be able to cancel my contract with SP without incurring any cancellation charges – but the Terms and Conditions state that only moving house is free of cancellation charges

This information has been given to me today over the phone; not in writing. There is no information about the price rises on the SP website. I have no way of proving that I was given this information – information that I suspect is wrong.

I am getting very bad vibes about SP and thinking of cancelling the transfer.

Matthew McGinlay says:
11 June 2011

I’ve been told the same about OES 14 not increasing in price, as I chose to switch to SP a couple of weeks back after Npower wrote to me to say they increased my prices 2 months ago. It does state in their ts&cs that you can cancel if they increase prices to your disadvantage so we’ll see if they do actually increase them or not.

Macca says:
20 June 2011

I too have just changed to the OES 14 and have also had the same advise. When you set this up they should have sent you an email with a link to myscottishpower for your new set up and on this, it clearly states that “you will have heard of the recent price increase however your new account is not affected”. I’m hoping this is true…..!

Richard Glenister says:
8 June 2011

Just my luck as have recently initiated switching to ScottishPower after using the Which? switching comparison service and now their announcement that prices are to increase. I wonder what would result if I made a further comparison, assuming the price increase has been factored in – which I doubt it has yet to be fair.


“Scottish Power increase prices, but I’ve got the power to leave”
Yes but where are you going to go?
As you also say all the other energy suppliers are soon going to follow in their footsteps.
Good idea to always be on the cheapest tariff, and lock in for as long as possible, but gains are temporary. Switching is not the universal panacea to the problem of ever increasing energy prices.
So what is our best damage limitation policy?
Well, our best approach can only be to use much less of the stuff or make our own somehow.
This logically therefore leads to insulation, more efficient appliances and domestic alternative energy. I wish as much type space offering advice on these was given as is to “switching”.


The only way that consumers could make a fair comparison would be if all companies announced and implemented their price changes at the same time. I am currently with Scottish Power and intend to stay with them until all of the price rises for this round of increases have been announced.


I’m with you on this Mike. At the moment I spend so little (I know I’m lucky – 2 people in a bijou one-bed flat, out most of the time) the increase won’t affect us too much, and to switch will incur cancellation charges bigger than any savings I could make immediately. So shall see how the land lies in November when I can switch.

dorothy says:
29 June 2011

Your comments Mike encouraged gave me hope. I have many years of experience switching and have found that they all catch up sooner or later and the hassle was for nothing. I get the feeling that these companies take advantage of we oldies (78 years). I switched with Which? Switch in 0tcober 2009.

L.Sanderson says:
9 June 2011

I feel that Scottish Gas were on an El-Expresso ‘selling’ to future subscribers before their evilly-planned increases became announced. I don’t trust ANY of them, particularly (down South) British Gas. I wish all our Gas suppliers etc got their Employer’s Fuel, and I’d not charge 19% for their free match !


At what point will anyone mention the elephant in the room?

Everytime a person switches energy provider, regardless of the website used, that website receives a fee. On average this fee is around the £60 mark.
This fee is factored into the price by the energy companies and passed on to the household via their bills/charges for leaving.
(To be fair, this is not limited to the energy industry, the same can be applied to insurances, etc)

The public dont get to see how much the websites are making in fees, because they are private businesses and are not subject to the freedom of information act.
The energy companies like confusing customers, confusion leads to more profits.
The tariff prices advertised through switching websites most often do not include VAT, the data is the same as each energy company put up on their own websites, so are not a true price.
The energy companies advertise a tariff on websites but it becomes a “unit price” on customer statements.
Energy companies and switching websites do not tell the customer that a set price per unit of energy does not exist!

The way a unit of gas is calculated for billing changes every week, so your tariff/unit price per unit is all that you are fixing, the way they calculate the amount of gas units they charge you for changes every week, regardless of tariff/payment method.
For people with old imperial meters, it is physically impossible to calculate this change every week as gas companies do not give their own billing staff access to the “Calorific value” figure, that is used when working out a unit of gas used on your meter to their own kWh, which they charge you for. (Those with digital meters its option 16 on your meter menu)

Are the early cancellation fees for switching energy provider enforceable? Are they not deemed to be a penalty charge under common law?

I have no doubt that other energy providers will follow scottish power’s lead, british gas have already stated earlier this year that their prices “may” have to rise in the summer.
We are told when the oil price goes up, the price goes up for our energy – yet when the oil price falls, the price stays the same because the energy companies have to pay in advance, the public cannot win.

Switching energy suppliers is seen by many to be a way of “saving money” but in reality the costs for marketing you to switch are passed on to you, increasing your bills/charges. The more people switch, the bigger the profits for switching websites, which in turn means higher prices for us all to cover the costs… and so it goes on.

A different approach from those in charge is required. I dont believe that it should be up to each household to have to hunt around and be lead up the garden path with ever increasing bills/charges for their hot water and heating their homes, its a fundamental right of everyone to be able to do this.
How many millions of people dont have the internet/dont understand/dont have a bank account, etc, who just want to be treated fairly?


Hi Frugal Ways, I think you’re right in that this money should be considered, but in reality it’s a lot more complicated than just working out how much of the switch cost (i.e. commission to the site) is passed on to the consumer. If there were no switching sites then energy companies would increase other forms of marketing – telesales, door-to-door, massive ad campaigns, etc – and you can bet that cost would be passed on to you as well! Ultimately I think paying commission to a switching site is probably one of their cheapest ways of getting new customers. A friend of mine used to sell energy switches door to door (the worst job he has ever had!) and said that he was given £80 commission for every person he switched. Consider expenses, training, etc on top of that and it makes for a much more expensive means of marketing, I think.

Switching sites are a good idea, I think, even if they are paid commission. The Which? site – Which? Switch http://www.which.co.uk/switch/ gets commission from energy companies that we have a partnership with, but we list all the possible tariffs, even from companies that don’t pay us a penny, and we don’t give any companies preferential treatment. The idea is that we can show people the cheapest, then if they want to switch to them and save some cash, that’s great – if we get money from it that money all goes back into our campaigning work and investigations.

Your comment kicked off a lot of discussion in the office. James Tallack, who works on our policy, said that there is potentially a way to get round the cost of marketing for switches, and that would be to have one ‘official’ switching site that wasn’t run as a commercial enterprise. e.g. someone like Ofgem had all the tariff info and you could go to their site to compare. There would still be costs for running the site, but they wouldn’t include things like commission. An interesting idea, but I’m not sure the energy companies (or the switching sites!) would be leaping up to support it!

Davy says:
9 June 2011

Frugal Ways,
you argue against switching because the comparison site fees are ultimately passed on to us consummers.
I had a very competitive tariff with Br Gas. They wrote to me to tell me that my tariff contract would end on 1st June and they would switch me to their Standard tariff (approx 15% more expensive). Br Gas had all my dual energy usage figures and could easily have calculated their best tariff and offered me the choice or that or the standard tariff.

Instead they invited me to visit their web site to compare tariffs and select the best value for me. Why should I do cost comparisons on Br Gas website when I can visit a comparison website and get the best tariff amongst all the providers – and thats what I did.

So in this case it is the provider forcing us the use comparison websites.

Compare that with my mobile phone company, Orange, who regularly text me telling me, based upon my usage, the best tariff they have.

Pedro Stephano says:
10 June 2011

I recently changed deals with my combined electricity-gas, but with my existing supplier, as per a quick check with Switch with Which. It’s all managed online and since I knew I’d be saving, I’ve been looking forward(!) to my next bill.

It arrived today by email. And I’m £235 in credit. Normally I would have to ring CS and ask for my Direct Debit to be altered, and accept that a refund would be pointless to ask for.

Times have changed. Ideally I would like a refund, and auto-adjustment of my DD to a new (lower) amount. Without having to ask.

Well that’s what I got. Stress free. Phonecall free. Waste of time free. Good. Thanks e-on. Thanks Which? (this article from my blog was tweeted to and reply received from @WhichSwitch )

Paul Woodhouse says:
10 June 2011

It’s appalling that these fat cat companies are allowed by the regulator and/or governemnt to increase their cartel operated rates in such an indiscriminate manner. We can absorb these increases for a while, but we’re on a fixed income and may not be able to sustain them in the future. Also, what about those people who can’t afford to pay, or as quoted on the local news, have to chose between heating and food!!!
I think we’re approaching civil action. What would happen if EVERYBODY refused to pay??? A bit like the poll tax refusal. Come on, lets do something!


This is what happens when you sell off public services and leave economists to “regulate” the results. All Tory policy from 30 years ago taking a long time to take effect. We’ve got power suppliers owned by foreign companies, little new generation being built except windmills, lots of nuclear stuff that should be closed soon. And letting people bicker about whether to use a website, and which one, to switch between retail suppliers, is just a distraction. I’d support any kind of action to reverse these trends, take effective control of energy supply and protect the vulnerable in our society, but suspect it needs to be done at a political level rather than just by refusal campaigns, though that might be a start, eg demonstrating against rich utility directors and energy “traders”. I doubt if centralised government in London has any idea of the impact on people outside in the provinces, or cares much, and they’ll pass much of the buck to the European Community re free competition. I doubt if Germany has these kinds of problems, though. Scotland (where I live) may be able to improve things by local political action, but I worry about the rest of the UK.


I thought you’d like to know that in the wake of Scottish Power’s price increase announcement, Which? Switch has seen an increase in the number of switches, with fixed tariffs being especially popular.

It’s switching like this that lets energy companies know that increasing their prices by so much will mean they’ll lose customers.


And if you are thinking of switching to a fixed energy deal, we’ve weighed up the pros and cons of this type of tariff on Which.co.uk: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2011/06/is-now-the-time-to-fix-your-energy-deal-255732/

Brian Ormondroyd says:
10 June 2011

These foreign, former British publically owned, companies must be brought swiftly back into British ownership. lf necessary by compulsory purchase. Thes companies then would operate on a not for profit basis. Thus ensuing cheaper energy, water and other services.
Along with this the reopening of our coalfields giving gas, coke and coal and chemicals and not dependent on imports-often from doubtful sources.
Nuclear is NOT an option. Cost and waste disposal dangers.
Wind, wave and solar power must be made a priority

Paul Rolfe says:
12 June 2011

We were with Scottish Power on a good fixed price deal that expired in March this year. I’d been very happy with them, never had a problem with Customer Service (only rang them once). However when the deal expired, we looked to see what the new rates were – the advertised rates on their website were quite expensive, and we could not easily find some of the deals that comparison sites highlighted. I did eventually find a cheap rate, but it was so buried in their website I decided I did not to give my business to them with all the confusing tarrifs. At this time Which published their survey of Energy companies, and we switched to Ovo Energy who got a good mention – they were not the cheapest, but the difference between them and the big 6 was around £50/yr and I wanted to move away from the big 6. They always put the prices up together, and yet it’s funny how they never come down as fast.
So far I have to say I’m very happy with Ovo’s customer service (contacted them a couple of times) – and the switching was pretty straightforward. I’d certainly recommend switching – it is straightforward and you end up saving money.

GoodHonestAdvice says:
12 June 2011

I too am switching to OVO. They will be slightly MORE expensive than if I were to say with ScotPwr but I am disgusted with the fact that SP have doubled their standing charge which will hit low income and low usage customers most (not me, but I object to the unfairness). OVO are also more transparent in their pricing tariffs and have better green credentials.


I would like to correct some mis-information in Nikki’s article;
There are indeed some “brands” which customers can feel loyalty to. These are all smaller companies such as Ecotricity, Good Energy and Green Energy. As a customer of Ecotricity I know that I will not be ripped off, will not want to change supplier, will have my phonecalls answered straight away by someone in the Stroud office (no call centres abroad), and above all can use electricity in the knowledge that most of it is definitely from a low carbon source (the big companies may make this claim but their record is dubious). Ecotricity (and the others mentioned as far as I know) plough ALL of their profits back into renewable technologies. No creaming off to shareholders or massive bonuses to directors. Using small ethical companies is definitely the way the way forward for the ethical consumer.


Hi organicrad. It’s good to know that you’ve found someone who you do feel that brand loyalty towards, and it’s nice to see that an energy company can get it so right that a customer is willing to recommend them. Our most recent energy survey showed that energy companies are generally less trusted than the banks, with just a quarter of UK people saying that they trusted energy companies – it’s good to see that some of them are working to earn trust back!

Please don’t use the word ‘mis-information’, though – my article was about my personal feelings towards energy companies, and I pointed out that I don’t have any brand loyalty towards them. That doesn’t mean that I think no one does, or that no one should!

Robin says:
12 June 2011

I have taken a lot of trouble over the years to find the best deal. At the moment I use SP’s “Pay in Advance – Domestic”. This saves me 5% on top of the best monthly direct debit rate that I have managed to find. Nevertheless I continue to visit various websites to compare energy prices. After I have completed all the tedious questions – Surprise, Surprise, all of them come up with a response that they can save me £200 here and £300 here by changing to companies that I KNOW are not competitive as the deal I currently have. So what is the racket that the energy comparison websites operate! I have come to the conclusion that they operate a flawed software system. Even if you submit your correct tarrif rate, the comparison websites always calculate using the most expensive rate that your current company offers. (honest software error Guv! a complete accident, not deliberate. Cross my heart) Naturally using this “system” there are plenty of companies that are cheaper. The software then tells you how much money you will save by changing to the new company. The comparison websites NEVER tell you the rate that you will be charged for this electricity or gas so that you can actually compare apples with apples. The punter is so excited at saving all this money that they rush to change to a new energy supplier and the website earns an easy £60 from the company for recruiting a new customer. The websites do not print out a report that gives the facts. Remember you have just spent 10 minutes supplying all the facts needed for a comprehensive report. They should be able to print out a report that says You are paying for x amount of energy and your current rates are y. This adds up to an annual total of z. (i.e. you should check for yourself that the baseline is accurate). The report should then say, if you change to this company their rates are y1 and for the same amount of energy your total bill will be z1. – A saving of z – z1. This report could be generated so easily. There has to be a reason they don’t do it. Is it because the system is dishonest?

Even the Which energy comparison website operates this “system”.

Nikki I would love you to tell me that there is a comparison website that does print a good report, because if there is, I have not found it.


Hi Robin – I’ve passed your comment on to one of my colleagues from Which? Switch who’ll be able to give you a fuller answer than me!


Hi Robin.

Sorry to hear you’ve had bas experience with switching sites! Which? Switch works by using the rates of your current tariff and calculating an annual spend based on what you tell us about your usage. We will always use the rates for the tariff you tell us you are on so that the quoted savings are as accurate as possible. We also allow you to see a comparison page for every tariff which sets out the rates of your current tariff versus another one on the market and shows how the annual saving has been calculated- to find this use the ‘Compare to current’ link against tariffs on the results table. We take providing accurate and reliable information very seriously and our calculation system is accredited by the Consumer Focus Confidence Code.


Having done the maths (and seeing comments on other forums) I’m wondering who’s getting the 10% & 19% rises? According to my maths, my electricity increase 53% for the first rate, and 38% for the second. For gas it’s 56% for the first rate and 69% for the rest. And this is a rate guaranteed to be 2% lower than their standard DD prices. As I mentioned above we’re not exactly high users, but a year at these new prices will push up to nearly £600 a year (we have a 1-bed, are out most of the time and wear lots of jumpers and blankets in the winter). I’ve estimated the difference per day as jumping from £1.05 to £1.60.

Having compared to the prices Co-op are quoting, if they don’t up their prices they will actually be cheaper than Scottish Power.


Hmm… so looks like I can’t do maths of an evening. Anyway, still works out as there are other tariffs cheaper than SP so maybe will switch. Potentially would save more than the cancellation fees by moving too, so might be worth it. Will have a look at cash back options.

gazzer says:
14 June 2011

I received a letter this morning (14th June) from my supplier, nPower, dated “May 2011”, which started “as you know the introductory period for your online tariff came to an end on 31st March 2011.” And then goes on to tell me that they have kindly transferred me to their standard tariff from that date. I realise that I have some responsibility to remember when a special offer ends, but the comapnies don’t make it easy:
– there is nothing on their bill to state when a particular offer will end
– even worse, on my latest nPower bill (15th March) they predict energy costs for the next 12 months based on the special tariff that is about to end – and which is no longer available
– the only way to know when a special rate is about to run out is to search the e-mails for the past 12 months to find out the date the new tariff started

The solution is for suppliers to put the date of expiry of any special offer on the bill – given that my bill is 8 pages long already that should not be a big deal!

Does the recent change which requires energy companies to advise you a month in advance of a change in price also apply to price changes when special offers expire? I hope so, but somehow I doubt it…

I could make the same point about banks and building societies who offer 12-month ‘bonus’ rates, but then make it almost impossible to find out when the current rate is about to expire. I’ve been caught out recently on this as well.

I count myself as reasonably savvy and on the ball, but keeping track of the dates when spec


Just a quick update, as I thought you’d like to know – Scottish Power has been emailing it’s customers about the price rises and in the email (in the very small print!) they say

“If you notify us that you wish to cancel your agreement before 1st August 2011 and we receive a request for your supply from another supplier within 15 working days, we will not apply the price increase or the cancellation fee for your product.”

So this means that if you do want to switch but don’t want to be charged a hefty exit fee, get in there before August 1st!

johnrath says:
22 June 2011

The problem with switching is that if you don’t time it correctly you can get a double dose of expensive Starting Units. As I quote – in two places, elsewhere, sorry! – two of my unit rates seem to have been increased by over 40%!!

chrishoyland says:
15 June 2011

I’ve just rec’d my new Scottish Power tariffs. Interestingly they have put a 28% increase on the first 225KW of electricity used but only 2 and 3% respectively on the Day and night tariffs, so the whole thing is loaded to give them the largest benefit possible. My gas has risen by 21.5% average.
I will be changing but see little point until others have announced their increases.

johnrath says:
22 June 2011

Interesting. I have just posted about my new Scottish Power rates for electricity (See below) My first units have gone up by about the same percentage but Extra Daytime and Nigghtime have gone up by over 40%!!

Averil says:
16 June 2011

I used a cash back site but am having considerable difficutly getting my cash back payment. I wonder what rights I have.

I also suffered from my previous supplied applying the higher tariff (this one that is supposed to be for the first so many units used in a quarter and is some 4 times higher than the second tariff) repeatedly several times in the middle of a quarter on the grounds that I had moved to a new tariff, and had supplied a couple of meter readings (at their request). This means that many more units were charged at the higher tariff in the middle of the quarter and not just at the beginning of the quarter. There should be a requirement that all units are charged at the same rate, to stop companies applying the higher tariff as often as they like.


What surprised me when we got our notification was that it wasn’t the price of the electricity that was going up per se, it was the price of the electricity standing charge.
The email said as follows…

Daily Service Charge 13.76p from 25.54p – an extra £43 per year
All/Day Units kWh 10.590p 10.590p – no change.

Daily Service Charge from 24.50p to 31.02p
All/Day Units kWh 3.000p 3.596p – no change

So the electricity charge goes up by £43 and the gas charge by nearly £24 and we don’t even have the option to reduce the impact by turning of the telly/computer/oven/heating a bit more often.

I can understand putting up the price of the fuel if the price of fuel goes up – but the standing charge is unavoidable – it does not seem fair.

Still, according to Which?switch I can save £123 per year just by changing to the OES 14 option, nearly as much as I can by changing supplier – so I think we’ll try that first…

johnrath says:
22 June 2011

Although I read the announcement that Scottish Power’s electricity charges were going up by around 10% on August 1st, in an email I received last weekend the actual increases they give for the different unit rates are as follows:
Daytime – 1st 225 – 26%
Next units – 45%!!
Nighttime – 57%!!!!!

When I pointed this out to them, I seemed to get some sort of standard reply about prices going up and perhaps I’d like to switch to a fixed tariff. No word about how these increases of over 40% were justified.

Tim says:
10 July 2011

I have changed supplier a number of times re poor service (incorrect meter readings – how can they mess this up?) and I am currently with Scottish Power. I started to look into changing and thought I was doing something wrong because on my workings out my tariff has changed by 23%,36%,38+% and I am on Econ 7 so 38% is onbviously the most relevant. How can 10% be claimed?
Looks like I have to switch to N Power fix 6 but I was wondering if fixing until end of 2014 with SP was worth it.

johnrath says:
10 July 2011

Replying to my own email (?), I had sent my Scottish Power query – on how a 10 per cent increase becomes 40% in real life! – to The Independent and this seems to be sort-of answered in yesterday’s edition of its “Questions of Cash” column. See link below:


It seems that I was, unknown to myself, previously basking in various, substantial discounts…


I’m with Scottish Power. Ok they will increase gas by 13% and electric 10% which is influenced by world prices but the daily charge of the combined gas & electric is going up by 137.62%. surly it should only go up by RPI. Where is there a Watch Dog when you want one?


For some time now I’ve realised that if you are a low user of energy you don’t want to be on a tariff where you pay a standing daily charge. If you used no gas or electricity or gas throughout the year you would still pay the daily charge.
So for low energy users you need a no standing charge tariff. So what have companies like Scottish Power, who have no standing charge, done? They’ve piled the increase onto the Tier 1 part of the bill, which is almost like applying it to a standing charge.
What on Earth is going on? All those people who have tried to save energy by fitting loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, double glazing, draught excluders, etc. etc. have all been beaten mercilessly by applying the bulk of the price increase to either the standing charge or Tier 1. What was the point in encouraging people to reduce energy consumption and then apply the largest price increases to the lowest users?
I suppose it always was difficult to understand why it was the companies who sell us gas and electricity who were so concerned about supplying us insulation grants to help reduce the products they sell?
Which? Magazine/Consumer Association needs to get something done about this. The majority of the energy charges need to be applied to the higher end users, not those who are trying to do their bit for the environment.


I have to agree with Colin Grave. I have just recently gone back to Scottish Power and I am a very low user. The standing charges have doubled for electricity and the gas standing charge is substantially up too. It’s similar to the last company I left now. It looks like they have spread the burden evenly over all their consumers and are now charging ridiculous amounts to customers who are using next to nothing. I feel the standing charges are far too high with all companies now and that the government department that regulates these energy companies needs to act to encourage low use. Of course the horse has already bolted. If you use both gas and electricity, they are all more or less guaranteeing themselves around £200 year now in standing charges or indirect payments for the same, before you pay a penny towards your actual consumption?
I believe there should be a case for an overall reduction and a capping of standing charges for power. It should be a basic right like water and although I do not want something for nothing I do believe the energy companies should be forced to reduce this and concentrate their charges on energy prices. Given that the cost of supplying the service is fairly estimated by an ombudsman then further increases to these costs should be related to inflation only.


…….Well thanks NPower, for completely upsetting my wife on Valentines Night, how did you manage to dupe us into leaving EON with your comparison site slight of hand into believing that the monthly projected amount on a smaller usage has ended up doubling the gas and electricity bill for the last two quarters.
You are selling us the idea that you can provide us with a level yearly amount that’s payable monthly and then suddenly when you inquire about how the bill looks for the winter period you get the awful truth you have skillfully managed to palm twice as much from our account as any other energy provider with the excuse when tackled that it will take 56 days to run through the complaints procedure and by that time you have taken the variance not once but twice and so another complaints procedure begins and so on and so forth with us on the financial back foot not you .
If you think for one minute that your well versed customer service staff can blind us to the reality of how you purchase and supply a natural resource that in some parts of the Urals is so plentiful that it is seeping out of the Steppes quicker than you can raise the price to consumer then you are misguided.
It is time for an overhaul and if we all endured the cold in the spring for a month you would have to lower your prices or default on your contract to order.
Do not underestimate us or our resolve for a warm home, warm parents, warm children and a fair shake, you are dealing with the same people that sat out 10 months of constant bombing and never gave an inch, a month in the cold is nothing to us or those from the foothills of the Himalayas and below that now join us in this fight for fair prices.
You are on alert.

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7 November 2012

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Jonathan says:
18 March 2013

What is the best plan at the current moment with scottish power?

3 Bed house average bills of £130

GrahamP54 says:
9 April 2015

Please be aware when your old supplier calls with a fantastic rate,
It is a trick. The price won’t last the year and you will probably be out of pocket.

Our Scottish Power fixed price deal came to an end, so I went on Switch with Which and went for First Utility. Scottish Power, quite reasonably, gave me a call to try and persuade me not to leave.
What is not reasonable is the trick they use to keep me on board. They told me that they had just launched a new deal that would reduce my monthly direct debit to £65. First Utility worked out as £92, quite a saving, but warning lights were flashing in my head. If it is too good to be true it is probably a trick, and it was. Further digging revealed that £65/month would have been just OK for the approaching summer but come winter it would have had to increase massively or allow the account to go deeply red. The true figure for Scottish Power should have been £97/month over 12 months as best I can make out, close, but still more than F.U.
I discovered that my in-laws got caught out by this trick last year, had cheap months during the summer then a big price hike when winter came.
Needless to say, I am sticking with F.U. for the next year, then we will see.