Following today’s publication of the provisional findings of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA’s) investigation into the energy market, Dr Tim Jones, Chief Executive of the Cornwall based energy charity Community Energy Plus commented:
“Today’s report reflects what we see on a daily basis through our work with people in Cornwall who are struggling with their energy bills. Sadly it’s often the low income and vulnerable households who stay with the same energy supplier year after year, even though they have the most to gain from switching.”
“Far too many householders have a sense of misguided loyalty towards their energy suppliers which means that they miss out on the best deals. Although some people don’t realise that while they are on standard variable tariffs they’re paying more for their energy than need to, many still have the perception that shopping around to get a better deal is complicated or not worth the hassle. Our message is simple – consumers must switch and take power back from overcharging energy suppliers. The process is simple and can make a massive difference to a household’s energy bills.”
“We set up a collective switching initiative called Community Energy Switch earlier this year to help overcome the barriers people meet when thinking about switching and to assist householders in Cornwall take control of their energy bills. Our first collective energy switch in March helped 799 households to switch to a cheaper tariff, saving an average of £254 and reducing annual energy bills by an average of 25%. These figures really speak for themselves in terms of the importance of tariff switching and collective energy switching in particular to reduce energy bills.”
“The introduction of price caps on the most expensive tariffs probably will help some of the most vulnerable members of our community who are not likely to switch. However there is a risk that it could put off some people from switching if they don’t think the savings are big enough to make it worth their while. The CMA needs to carefully consider if the benefits of price capping outweigh the potential consequences of encouraging further consumer inaction.”
“The CMA’s interim report highlights the importance of the roll-out of smart meters as a tool to encourage householders to become more engaged in the way that they use and buy energy. We believe that when used effectively, smart meters are a great way to help householders take active control of their energy use. However, to get consumers to change their behaviour they need to understand and act upon the information that smart meters provide. In this respect it’s vital that smart meters stop being seen as a magic bullet that will miraculously turn disengaged householders into savvy energy wise consumers.”
Community Energy Switch’s summer collective switch is open until 27th July. Register online and switch at www.communityenergyswitch.org.uk or call Freephone 0800 804 7247.