17 October 2011
Government, consumer groups, energy suppliers, and industry regulator Ofgem have today agreed a range of measures to help consumers save money on their gas and electricity bills, and discussed policy developments aimed at keeping household energy bills down. These are as follows:
Check, Switch & Insulate to Save
Agreement on clear and transparent communications to make sure consumers know about the potential savings from checking on their energy deal, switching tariff and/or supplier, and insulating - and how they can take up these opportunities to save money this winter:
- shared website and campaign material giving consumer advice
- customers seeking cheapest tariff advice will also be given advice on energy saving measures, and vice versa
- Ofgem and Citizens Advice announced record funding from suppliers for this year’s Energy Best Deal campaign
- Citizens Advice will coordinate a ‘Big Energy Week’ campaign in the New Year
Winter call to action
Millions of households could save money just by changing their payment method with their existing supplier.
- Suppliers will write urgently to eight million quarterly credit customers to tell them how they can save money by changing payment method.
Agreement to make sure energy bills show customers how to save money.
- This winter suppliers will place a cheaper tariff signpost message on the front page of bills, encouraging customers to call their supplier or visit a website to find out if they could be saving money on their energy bills.
- Energy suppliers have also agreed to look at ways to enable customers to compare their gas and electricity consumption, including the potential for a web-based tool that can provide consumers with a personalised comparison with similar households in their area.
- This represents a milestone in delivering the Coalition Programme pledge to increase households’ control over their energy costs by ensuring energy bills provide information on how to move to the cheapest tariff offered by their supplier and how each household’s usage compares to other households.
Far too many UK homes do not yet have adequate insulation. Energy efficiency measures can save money on energy bills but many householders have still not taken these measures, despite the fact the Big Six energy suppliers - who supply 99% of UK households - all offer free or cut price deals to install these.
- From December 2011, four million of the most vulnerable energy customers in Great Britain will receive letters to tell them they are eligible for free or heavily discounted insulation to their loft or cavity walls.
- The supplier-funded letters will be sent by government and direct consumers to a dedicated independent helpline, as part of the government programme to ensure an extra 3.5 million homes are properly insulated by the end of 2012.
- This initiative will save customers millions in reduced energy bills - encouraging just 1% of this group to both insulate their home and switch their supplier could save customers around £12m.
According to Ofgem, only 15% of households switched gas supplier last year and 17% switched electricity supplier - down from 20% (gas) and 19% (electricity) in 2007, despite the fact it is possible to save up to £200 from an annual dual fuel bill by shopping around for the lowest online rate.
- The time taken to switch supplier is to be limited to three weeks with implementation of the EU Third Energy Package this autumn.
- In addition, work is underway led by BIS as part of the Government’s Midata programme to cut the hassle out of switching, with a next generation online method of checking and changing to the best deal.
- To facilitate this, energy companies have agreed to give consumers access to their data in electronic format as part of the government Midata programme.
The Energy Consumer Summit was held on Monday, 17 October 2011 at The Westminster Conference Centre, 1 Victoria Street, Westminster, and was attended by:
- The Rt Hon David Cameron MP, Prime Minister
- The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
- Ed Davey MP, Consumer Affairs Minister, BIS
- Charles Hendry MP, Energy Minister, DECC
Alistair Buchanan CBE, CEO, Ofgem
- Gillian Guy, CEO, Citizens Advice
- Martin Lewis, MoneySavingExpert.com
- Richard Lloyd, Executive Director, Which?
- Mike O’Connor CBE, Chief Executive, Consumer Focus
- Tom Wright CBE, Group Chief Executive, Age UK
- Volker Beckers, Group Chief Executive Officer, RWE npower
- Phil Bentley, Managing Director, British Gas
- Darren Braham: CEO first:utility
- Neil Clitheroe, CEO of ScottishPower Generation Holdings
- Nigel Cornwall, Chair of the Independent Energy Supplier Forum
- Vincent de Rivaz, Chief Executive Officer, EDF Energy
- Stephen Fitzpatrick, Managing Director, Ovo Energy
- Dr Paul Golby, CEO, E.ON UK
- Lawrence Slade Esq, Chief Executive Officer, Energy Retail Association
- Richard Westoby, Director, SSE