Energy brokers and suppliers are challenged to “come clean” and clearly state the amount of “hidden commissions” included on energy bills.
The call from Schneider Electric comes ahead of the Energy Live 2013 conference tomorrow.
One of the main sponsors of the event, it is also asking consumers if they are prepared to put up with “secret third party costs” at a time when suppliers are increasing gas and electricity prices.
The global energy management firm believes the “unknown portion of suppliers’ costs” on energy bills are paid in the form of commission to brokers and price comparison sites and should be made transparent. It suggests only a small minority of businesses know the commission fees their brokers charge.
David Hunter, an energy analyst at Schneider Electric said: “While brokers can provide a valuable service, keeping these significant commission charges secret from the customer is intolerable. Suppliers don’t disclose commissions because they have confidentiality agreements with the brokers, who in turn don’t ‘come clean’ on the costs of using their service as it would invite scrutiny and competition.
“From supplier/producer profits to green policy costs and broker commissions, all charges must be open and clear so that homes and businesses don’t pay a penny more than they need to just to keep the lights on.”
Schneider Electric said it has made recommendations to industry regulator Ofgem and is in the process of setting up a round-table panel discussion on the issue.