'Big Six' energy firms agree to tell customers if they're overpaying

 

The Big Six energy firms have agreed to tell customers if
they’re overpaying for home energy and show them how to switch to a better
deal.

In a victory for The Independent’s Fair Energy campaign, the gas and electricity companies will write to their customers every year telling them the best deal for their household.

Vulnerable customers – who may be at risk of falling into fuel poverty because of unaffordable bills - will be contacted twice a year if they’re on the Warm Front scheme.

Customers will also be offered the best deal if their contract comes to an end or if they contact their supplier at any time to ask.

The agreement with the government will be announced today by the Deputy Prime Minister at a speech in London’s Canary Wharf.

Signing up to the deal will be EDF, E.on, British Gas, nPower, Scottish Power and SSE, the Big Six firms which collectively supply 99 per cent of British homes with heating and lighting.

But, as The Independent has reported, seven out of 10 people are on the wrong deal, meaning they pay too much for their energy.

Nick Clegg will promise today things will change. He will say: “As of this Autumn, your supplier will have to contact you with the best tariff for your needs. And if you call them, they’ll have to offer you the best deal too.”

In fact SSE has been piloting a similar scheme since October. A spokeswoman said: “These Government measures fit well with SSE’s own commitments.”

But critics say the agreement will only work if companies tell customers about the cheapest deals.

Ann Robinson of uSwitch said: “Companies must not be allowed to make assumptions about which tariff is right for customers.”

She said the deal doesn’t go far enough as the energy companies will only tell customers about their own offers.

“I hope this first step encourage consumers to gain confidence from the information to go on and compare the market more widely,” said Ms Robinson.

Mr Clegg will also today report that the government is working with energy companies to put special barcodes on energy bills. The barcodes will be able to be scanned by smart phones, allowing customers to get quotes and switch deal or supplier in minutes.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Content Writer - Global Financial Services

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Consultant - Financial Services - OTE £65,000

£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Underwriter

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935