News story

Official response to provisional CMA report

The Government has today laid out its response to the Competition and Markets Authority Provisional Findings on the state of the UK energy market.

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One Nation Government on the side of bill payers

To ensure a competitive and effective energy market that works for hardworking families and businesses across the country, the Government has today laid out its response to the Competition and Markets Authority Provisional Findings on the state of the UK energy market.

The CMA identified that energy suppliers are able to charge higher prices to customers who don’t shop around for the best deal. Over 34% of people the authority surveyed said they had never considered switching supplier.

The Government is already taking action to help families and businesses gain control over their energy use and ensure that power lies in bill-payers’ hands. We will introduce 24 hour switching in 2018 and by 2020, 53 million smart meters will be installed bringing an end to estimated billing. These measures will allow bill payers to know exactly what they are paying for and then use that information when comparing prices to get the best deal for them and switch to that deal faster.

Lord Bourne, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change said:

“Our number one priority is to keep bills down for hardworking families and businesses across the country.

“The CMA has rightly identified that one of the biggest concerns is people not shopping around to get the best tariff. We know this is the key to people getting a better deal on their energy bills and are already working on measures to improve this.

“Whilst we wait for the official findings of the report, due later this year, we will continue to promote competition in Britain’s energy market because competition helps drive down prices and push energy companies to keep bills as low as possible. We will also look into the CMA’s proposed solution of a safeguarding tariff which has the potential to protect those consumers who do not, or cannot switch.”

There are a number of other steps the Government is taking already to ensure bill payers can get the best out of the energy market:

  • we will reduce the time it takes to switch suppliers from 17 days to 24 hours by 2018.
  • we will ensure 53 million smart meters are installed by 2020. This will end estimated bills and waiting in for the meter reader. Bill payers will be able to use the information from their meter to compare accurate tariffs to know exactly how much they will save when they switch.
  • in June we saw the introduction of QR codes on energy bills. This allows comparison websites to develop apps that help bill payers compare energy deals more accurately and switch suppliers at the touch of a phone or tablet.
  • we are helping vulnerable consumers who are struggling to pay their bills. The Big Energy Saving Network is a community outreach programme of local volunteers who give advice and support to those in need to reduce their energy bills.

The Government is considering all the proposed remedies carefully and is committed to acting on the final recommendations from the CMA.

Notes to editors

Published 2 August 2015