Energy Summit’s suggestion of £200 saving an insult to consumers
The government, big energy firms and consumer groups have agreed to a very voter friendly drive aimed at reducing power bills at least in the short term.
Energy prices have rocketed up over the summer and with the colder weather and rises coming into effect prime minister David Cameron and energy secretary Chris Huhne have seemed powerless to stop bills going up.
While energy bills are rising fast the profits of energy companies are currently at the centre of a dispute between the ‘Big Six’ and regulator Ofgem.
In an attempt to turn the heat away from the government Mr Cameron and Mr Huhne agreed a series of drives aimed at promoting switching between energy companies and more price awareness.
The initiatives include a shared website and campaign material giving consumer advice.
Help to make switching easier as, according to Ofgem, only 15% of households switched gas supplier last year and 17% switched electricity supplier – down from 20% (gas) and 19% (electricity) in 2007, despite the fact it is possible to save up to £200 from an annual dual fuel bill by shopping around for the lowest online rate.
The summit also agreed to look at better billing to show customers how to save money and if they could switch to a cheaper tariff and a drive to promote warmer homes through increased insulation
Mr Cameron urged people to shop around for energy saying they could save up to £200, he said: “We are making energy companies be competitive.
“They’re permanently being watched by Ofgem to make sure it is a competitive market, and we are making them make their energy available so that others can come in and provide customers with a good service.
“We’re also writing to millions of customers today to encourage them to shop around to get the cheapest possible deal they can for their energy.”
Labour’s shadow energy secretary, Caroline Flint, criticised the talks saying the hot hair generated by the PM and energy secretary wouldn’t heat people’s homes this winter.
She said: “It is an insult to say we can all save £200 by shopping around for the best tariff.
“They know there are over 400 tariffs and it is a nightmare trying to find the right one – even energy minister Charles Hendry said he couldn’t work out the best tariff.
“At yesterday’s energy summit, if the government really want bills cut by £200 then they should tell the energy giants to give up some of their profits to cut bills this winter.”
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