Consumer: It can make sense to switch energy supplier

Bill payers could be losing out on big savings by not switching energy supplier.
Bill payers could be losing out on big savings by not switching energy supplier.
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More than three quarters of bill-payers living in rented accommodation have never switched energy supplier, a poll has found.

One in five tenants said they were not aware it was possible to switch to another energy company, and 77 per cent had not switched their electricity supplier. Almost three quarters had not switched their gas, according to new data from Ofgem’s 2014 Consumer Engagement Survey.

The regulator said the findings highlighted the “sheer lack of awareness” among tenants of their rights to shop around for the best deal, with just 26 per cent of renters switching gas supplier compared with 47 per cent of homeowners. Gas bill payers could save up to £150 a year if they shop around for the best deal.

Ofgem said that renters often wrongly thought they had to accept the energy suppliers already in place when they moved in. It has now updated its Be an Energy Shopper website to include key facts and tips around energy supply for tenants.

Ofgem chief executive Dermot Nolan said: “The number of British households renting stands at nine million, yet research has shown that this group is not shopping around for their energy, and missing out on savings of up to £200.

“We’ve now updated the Be An Energy Shopper website so that it also addresses tenants’ needs, and therefore they too can get a better deal on their energy.”

Be An Energy Shopper campaign spokeswoman Jasmine Birtles said: “It’s not just homeowners who can shop around for their energy, renters can too. So it’s worth taking a moment to bring yourself up to speed on your rights as a tenant.

“There are substantial savings to be made here so make sure you’re not missing out.”

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said: “Faster switching is the latest step we’re taking, having trebled the number of suppliers since 2010, making people’s bills simpler to understand, and plans to introduce QR codes on energy bills to support one-click price comparisons.”

Meanwhile, customer complaints about energy companies have soared to their highest ever level, according to the Energy Ombudsman. During the first half of 2014, complaints more than doubled from the previous six-month total of 10,598 to an all-time high of 22,671. Bill-related issues are the biggest source of pain for consumers with transfer issues the second largest cause for complaints.

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