According to the regulator Ofgem, millions of energy customers could save hundreds of pounds a year on their energy bills without switching supplier. By simply moving to another Npower tariff, more than 1.7 million Npower customers could save £261 a year. According to Ofgem, as many as 6.6 million British Gas customers could save £129 a year. Although, British Gas says that they have changed their prices, so the saving is now only £43. The figures have also revealed that SSE has almost all of its customers on the most expensive form of tariff. 91% of SSE customers are on standard variable tariffs, compared to just 9% at First Utility. As most fixed deals are cheaper, the number of people stuck on standard tariffs is controversial. 66% of households are on standard tariffs, as a whole in the UK. Although, Npower have said that customers were unlikely to be able to save £261 a year, as fixed-price deals were usually limited to a certain number of customers. The deal is withdrawn once a certain number of people have signed up.
The business and energy secretary, Greg Clark, met energy suppliers last month, amongst claims that some of them were making large profits from customers who are on standard variable tariffs. The industry has come under pressure to reduce its prices for standard tariffs, but has denied profiteering. As a result, three of the biggest suppliers have frozen their tariffs through the winter. “Millions of people across Britain continue to pay too much for their energy,” said Mr Clark. “The measures announced today are a positive step to help more people benefit from increased choice and competition.” Ofgem published its comparison table to highlight the difference between the cheapest and most expensive tariffs.
|Standard Variable Tariffs (SVTs)|
|Supplier||% of customers on SVTs||Difference between SVT and cheapest deal|
|British Gas||74%||£129 (now £43)|
|*tariffs are SVT for pre-payment meters|
Citizens Advice said that the table will help customers, but energy firms could still do more to help. “We’d like to see energy companies do more off their own back to help customers who are on a low income, like moving them to a cheaper deal,” said Gillian Guy, the chief executive of Citizens Advice. For the 10 million households which have been on standard tariffs for more than three year, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) confirmed that is going ahead with plans to help them. From next year, suppliers will have to tell Ofgem which of its customers have not switched tariffs. They will be sent details of better deals, prompting them to move, if customers consent.