According to the influential Energy and Climate Change Committee chairman, Tim Yeo MP, ‘Del Boy’ sales techniques are leaving 40% of customers worse off.

The report also raises concerns about how energy prices ‘rise like a rocket and fall like a feather’.

It also attacks the ‘growing complexity’ of tariffs and the market dominance of the ‘Big Six’ energy companies.

The committee, who today (July 25), published its findings of Ofgem’s Retail Market Review also singled out recent price increases from ScottishPower for particular criticism.

According to Mr Yeo customers who use the least energy will be ‘hit the hardest’ from next month when the increases are put into effect providing ‘an apparent incentive’ for higher consumption.

The review also demanded energy companies, found to have mis-sold electricity and gas, should pay compensation.

Mr Yeo said: “If it turns out consumers are being persuaded to switch contracts when it’s not in their best interests, by salespeople keen to earn commission, then it would only be right for the energy companies to cough-up compensation.

“Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) recently announced it would suspend doorstep selling following its hearing in front of the Select Committee, we welcome that decision.

“The rest of the Big Six should ditch the Del Boy sales tricks and concentrate on giving customers the information they need to choose the correct contract.”

Mr Yeo was also angry about complex the way bill are presented, he added: “Electricity and gas tariffs are now so complex that even the energy minister admitted he got confused when trying to switch.

“We are worried that a lot of people are simply bamboozled by their bills and the vast array of different tariffs on offer.

“The industry should address these problems immediately without waiting for Ofgem or the Government to act.”

Luke Walsh

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