Government pledges to reduce energy bills

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg is set to unveil, what he claims, is a landmark deal between the Government and the big six to cut energy bills.

Mr Clegg will be announcing the alignment later on today (April 11) at the KPMG headquarters, Canary Wharf, as part of a government commitment to help consumers get the best energy tariff for their needs and reduce their energy bills.

As part of the initiative, the big six energy companies – EDF, E.ON, British Gas, Southern, Scottish Power and NPower, will write to customers every year from this autumn to inform them of the best value tariff and how to get it. They will also be offered a more suitable tariff when their contract ends or if they contact their supplier to ask.

It will also see some vulnerable customers – those assisted by the Warm Home Discount scheme – contacted twice a year.

The move comes after criticism that energy tariffs are too complicated -leaving consumers struggling to find the best deal.

It is also part of a government drive to encourage people to reduce their bills, while also saving energy through green measures.

Key proposals made in the commitment include, investigating putting barcodes on bills, a Big Energy Week 2 event to provide consumers with advice, tariff simplification and collective switching options.

In his speech Mr Clegg is expected to say: “We need to get bills as low as possible. I know that many families are struggling with rising energy bills. We can’t control volatile world energy prices. But we can still help people get their bills down.

“So I can announce today that we have secured a landmark deal with the six big energy companies who cover 99% of customers, to give customers a guaranteed offer of the best tariff for them.”

It is thought seven out of 10 customers are on the wrong tariff and are paying too much. However, the Mr Clegg is also expected to reveal that people can save up to £100 a year by switching to a more suitable tariff.

His speech will conclude: “That is going to change. As of this Autumn, your supplier will have to contact you with the best tariff for your needs. And if you call them, they’ll have to offer you the best deal too.

“We want to see consumers saving money and engage with the energy they use. Precisely the kind of thrift that is good for pockets as well as the planet.”

Carys Matthews

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