Energy companies overcharging customers by £400 a year

Written by Rebecca O'Connor on 4th March 2016

Which? research reveals that ​the energy market is failing as ​the majority of customers are still missing out on savings of up to £400 a year.

Customers on standard tariffs with the Big Six providers – British Gas, EDF, Eon, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE – will save just £30 a year, based on recently announced cuts.

However, these same customers would save up to a massive £400 a year if they were to switch to the cheapest dual-fuel deal on the market, or £260 if they were on a gas-only tariff.

They can save money and also save the planet if they switch to a 100% renewable electricity tariff, all of which are now cheaper than Big Six standard tariffs and often come with better service too.

Julia Davenport, chief executive of Good Energy, said: “People have lost all faith in the Big 6 energy companies because they have been taking advantage of loyal customers. There are better deals and higher levels of quality service to be found elsewhere.

“Independent suppliers tend to focus on better service and fairer pricing because they have to work harder to win customers from the bigger firms.”

Which?’s research comes ahead of the conclusion of the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) investigation into the energy market.

Which?’s Fair Energy Prices campaign calls on the CMA to tackle the problems in the energy market by making switching between providers and tariffs easier and imposing penalties on those suppliers who don’t protect the most vulnerable.

Today, Which? submitted a dossier with a snapshot of stories from more than 30,000 customer comments to the CMA. The dossier details consumer dissatisfaction with energy companies and the market.

The Government estimates that only 12% of customers currently switch their gas provider. With seven in ten (71%) gas customers stuck on standard tariffs and nine in ten (88%) households still with the Big Six, the forthcoming energy inquiry must make it easier and engage significantly more people to switch to a better deal.

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said: “Millions of people are still paying way over the odds for their energy and levels of switching, while increasing, are still woefully low. We would urge all consumers, especially those on a standard tariff with the Big Six, to switch to a cheaper deal today.”

Which?’s latest consumer tracker reveals 63% of people in the UK are worried about energy prices, and only a third of people (34%) trust energy providers. So there are high expectations for the outcome of the investigation into the energy market.

Find an energy tariff that is clean AND cheap with our guide.