Consumers want tougher action from Ofgem

Half of energy customers want Ofgem to get tougher in its market shake up, a new survey suggests. While simpler bills got the stamp of approval from almost all (98%) […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Half of energy customers want Ofgem to get tougher in its market shake up, a new survey suggests.

While simpler bills got the stamp of approval from almost all (98%) of the 4,000 consumers asked by uSwitch.com, 48% said that proposals don’t go far enough.

The watchdog’s proposed revamping of the electricity market to make it easier for consumers to get a better deal by making it more transparent include a compulsory 30-day notice period for energy companies to let customers know if they are increasing their prices.

Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com said: “Ofgem’s proposals seem to have hit the nail on the head, but there is still a question mark over whether it will drive the nail in hard enough to satisfy consumers.”

The figures reveal how “imperative” it is to restore consumer confidence in the energy market, she added: “In the face of higher prices the only protection people have is to cut the cost of their energy and to reduce the amount they use. If consumers are not engaged in the market then these avenues are effectively closed to them and they will end up paying far more for their energy than they need to as a result.”

However, nine out ten (87%) people polled by the price comparison website agreed that consumers don’t switch because they are confused by the number of tariffs offered by suppliers.

Ofgem has made clear during the review of the energy retail market that “No one should doubt Ofgem’s determination to use its powers to ensure energy companies play fair with consumers.”

The watchdog’s consultation on their proposals closed on 1 June. Ofgem said in a statement that they hope to update consumers later this month on their findings.