Electricity free-for-all promises 10% off bills

THE SWITCH was pulled on electricity competition yesterday, with the announcement that 750,000 households will be allowed to shop around for a different supplier a month from now. Price reductions are likely to be in the region of 5 to 10 per cent.

Domestic competition will be launched on 14 September in 13 towns spread across four regions of the country. Initially, 10 per cent of households in each region will be able to switch supplier, with the remainder of the area opened up to competition over a six-month period.

The full roll-out of competition to all 26 million domestic and small business users will not be completed until next June - 15 months later than originally planned. The cost of the exercise will be pounds 726m, or pounds 33 for every household.

The first four areas to be opened to competition next month will be the regions covered by Eastern Electricity, Manweb, ScottishPower and Yorkshire Electricity. However, Seeboard has missed being included in the opening phase because of delays with its computer systems.

British Gas, which has been waiting for two years to attack the electricity market, said it had already signed up 300,000 customers while a further 1.5 million had registered their interest in buying electricity from it.

The domestic gas market began being opened up to competition in 1996. According to figures released yesterday by Ofgas, more than 3 million customers have deserted British Gas since then, tempted by offers of up to 20 per cent off their bills from rival suppliers.

The price cuts in electricity are expected to be more modest with bills falling by between 5 and 10 per cent at most. The take-up is also expected to be more gradual, with around 5 per cent of households forecast to switch supplier compared with 15 per cent for gas.

Electricity suppliers have been fined for the delays in introducing competition, but a committee of MPs said last month that the level of penalties was inadequate.

The towns where competition will be introduced on 14 September are: Norwich, Fakenham, Lowestoft and Cromer (Eastern Electricity); Chester, Mold and Holywell (Manweb); Motherwell, Aidrie and Lanark (ScottishPower); Hull, Hornsea and Beverley (Yorkshire).

Outlook, this page

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada