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Consumer watchdog ‘Which? calls for standing charges to be scrapped

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which-logoAccording to Which? consumers face a ‘lottery’ when it comes to standing charges on energy tariffs.

In just one region of the country there were 109 tariffs with 75 different standing charges which ranged from nothing to £402 per year for both combined and seperate gas and electricity deals.

The consumer watchdog is calling for standing charges to be removed and tariffs to be displayed in a simple way, similar to that of garage forecourts.

Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which?, said: “At a time when consumers are struggling with the cost of living, and rising energy bills are one of peoples’ biggest financial worries, the energy secretary must step in to make it easier for consumers to work out the cheapest deal.

“Ofgem’s current plans to reform energy tariffs do not go far enough to simplify the market for consumers. If the government fails to take more radical action, people will not feel confident that they are paying a fair price for their energy.”

However, energy secretary Ed Davey said that standing charges offer flexibility to customers.
Under Ofgems reforms he said “Complex tariffs will be banned and all tariffs will have the simple structure of a standing charge and unit rate.

“Allowing suppliers the flexibility to offer tariffs with different standing charges has benefits for consumers. Consumers with low energy consumption could get better value from tariffs with a zero or low standing charge. Consumers that have high energy consumption could find tariffs with a higher standing charge better value.”

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