Responding to moves announced by the Deputy Prime Minister today (Weds 11 April) to help customers to get the best deal from their energy supplier, Audrey Gallacher, Director of Energy at Consumer Focus, said:
‘There are some good ideas here. For example transferring customers to the best deal when their contract comes to an end, rather than the more costly standard tariff, is a long overdue step.
‘While any move to help energy customers to get the best deal is welcome – it has to be the right method to reach people and the benefit must outweigh the cost. This needs to be more that a one-off mail shot and part of a wider strategy to help people overcome the burden of having to navigate hundreds of complex tariffs to get a decent price. Unfortunately people don’t trust energy firms and previous mail-outs have not always had the best take-up.
‘Steps to make suppliers more accessible to their customers are needed and these moves could be helpful as part of wider plans. But suppliers also need to regain consumers trust by being much more transparent on bills and pricing and give customers who pay by cash, cheque or pre-payment meter genuine options by which they can save money. ’