Energy companies accused of overcharging consumers by £3bn

Critics claim gas and electricity companies have failed to pass on savings on wholesale prices

Simon Read
Personal Finance Editor
Thursday 14 January 2016 18:15
Comments
The cost of lighting a home hasn't fallen as fast as some want
The cost of lighting a home hasn't fallen as fast as some want

Energy companies should play fair with consumers by lowering prices. Research published yesterday claimed consumers are being over-charged by £3 bn on their energy bills.

The report from Energyhelpline showed that over the last two years, wholesale gas prices have dropped 51 per cent while electricity prices have fallen 33 per cent.

“This could have been passed through as price cuts of around 25 per cent on gas and 11 per cent on electricity for UK households, yet all loyal customers have seen is an average of 5 per cent off gas bills and nothing off electricity bills,” pointed out Mark Todd of the comparison site.

Lawrence Slade, boss of industry body Energy UK, defended the energy giants by claiming that they are constantly bringing down their prices. He said that since January 2014 the cheapest tariffs have fallen by around £200.

"Wholesale prices make up less than half of the average bill and the majority of the rest falls outside suppliers' control so there will always be a difference between wholesale price falls and what customers actually pay," Mr Slade added.

But Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "It's extremely disappointing millions of us are still paying way over the odds for our energy. Consumers will rightly ask why their bills haven't been cut dramatically when wholesale costs have dropped.

"The Government needs to protect vulnerable customers from being ripped off and make people feel confident about switching supplier."

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