The energy tariffs dilemma continues to rage and most consumers don’t know what to think anymore. One side says the new bills that show a tariff comparison rate will make everything easier for consumers, while the other side insists these new bills will only make things more confusing.
What’s the truth? How can you save on your energy bill this year?
Although the debate has been raging for years, numbers from 2012 really made UK officials sit up and take notice. In a poll by Onepoll for Ovo Energy, 14.5% of those polled said they would not be able to afford their energy bills this winter. 23.7% of those polled said they had rationed food to pay their energy bill, and 38% claimed they could not afford Christmas gifts that year.
Now Regulator Ofgem has proposed a new system that claims will help consumers make better choices about who to choose for their energy provider. Inspiring a healthy sense of competition between the big contenders may make them sit up and take notice of what they are charging consumers.
Ofgem’s solution to the problem is to present the information to consumers on their bills, in a chart that shows a comparison of the tariff rates for the major companies.
Other changes proposed include:
- Capping the number of tariffs a supplier can charge
- No more multi-tier tariffs, meaning the supplier could not charge a different rate based on the amount of energy the consumer uses
- No price increases during length of contract
Other experts say that Ofgem’s proposal does nothing to fix the problem and may, in fact, hurt those who are already hurting. The problem is that when these numbers appear on the consumer’s bill, they are showing a medium usage of both gas and electricity. Only a quarter of UK consumers are considered ‘medium’ users, leaving three quarters of the country with no relevant data to their situation.
While the debate rages on, there are a few things you can do. The old standbys still apply, such as switching off lights when you leave the room and turning down your thermostat a few degrees. But you can also be proactive by contacting your supplier directly and demanding changes. Write letters, petitions and proposals and get as many signatures as you can. Send them to your suppliers, Citizens Advice and the ombudsman.
If we all work together to raise our voices, we will be heard.