The Big Six energy companies really don’t deserve your loyalty

Two-thirds of households have, astoundingly, never switched gas or electricity supplier

 

Simon Read
Personal Finance Editor
Tuesday 09 February 2016 19:24
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British Gas looks after its profits by cutting bills by just 5 per cent
British Gas looks after its profits by cutting bills by just 5 per cent

The fact that some people may be taking on extra jobs or cutting back on holidays simply to be able to afford to heat or light their home is really quite distressing. Especially given that a million could cut their bills by up to £300 a year simply by switching to a new and lower-cost deal.

I interviewed someone this week who has been with the same energy supplier – British Gas – for the whole of her adult life, around 25 years. “They’ve always been fair to me,” she told me, “in fact they cut my bills recently.”

Simon Read LL finance

British Gas cut gas bills by around 5 per cent last summer. On Monday Npower became the latest energy giant to announce a similar reduction. But this is not the big six suppliers playing fair with customers.

Bear in mind that they benefited from a 23 per cent drop in wholesale prices last year but, to a firm, have only passed on around 5 per cent of savings. And even though it announced the cut this week, Npower isn’t actually making it until towards the end of March, giving it another six weeks of higher profits when gas use is likely to be at its highest during the cold weather.

But such tactics are typical of the big energy suppliers which really seem to live up to the “profits, not customers, first” greedy corporate motto.

To return to our reader who has remained loyal to British Gas for all those years, when I pointed out that the £300 saving she could make by switching to the best fixed-rate tariff available at the moment would be enough to pay for the £25 a month fee to her local gym, she was much more interested.

“That effectively means I’ll be getting the gym for free,” she said. It won’t, of course. All it means it that she’s been ripped off for years. As have the two-thirds of households that, astoundingly, have never switched energy supplier.

Put it this way: how much time would it take you to earn an extra £300? You can earn that through lower bills in less than an hour by using a comparison site to switch your energy firm.

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