Simple? Energy suppliers ‘failing to explain tariffs’

Energy suppliers are failing to provide customers with the information they need to accurately compare tariffs, Which? claims. It called 13 suppliers six times each, as part of a mystery […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Energy suppliers are failing to provide customers with the information they need to accurately compare tariffs, Which? claims.

It called 13 suppliers six times each, as part of a mystery shopping exercise, asking them to explain the Tariff Comparison Rate (TCR) – part of Ofgem’s reforms for a simpler market.

The TCR tells customers how much a tariff costs per kilowatt hour (kWh) based on medium usage and is intended to help consumers compare tariffs.

According to Which? however tariffs with a low TCR is not always the cheapest deal “which is why it’s important suppliers can easily explain how it works”.

Out of the 78 calls made, only four – or 5% – provided “accurate information”, the consumer body said.

E.ON and npower were the only two suppliers that gave an accurate description of the TCR but just in two of the six calls they both received.

Which? Executive Director Richard Lloyd said: “It is clear suppliers need to up their game and ensure they can provide consumers with a clear and accurate explanation to help them find the best deal.”

Ofgem said it is “monitoring compliance with these reforms closely”.

A spokesperson added: “All suppliers are required to provide explanations of the rates on their websites. And all suppliers must also provide tariff comparison rates on all communications which are regularly sent to customers such as bills and annual statements.”

Which? is also calling on the government to introduce pricing similar to petrol pump displays.

Energy UK however believes energy deals can’t be compared in the same way as there are additional factors that influence the amount a customer pays.

A spokesperson said: “These include the customer’s location and government legislation which applies to some companies and not others.”

The trade body added “hundreds of thousands” of customers are switching suppliers every month and suggests consumers to use price comparison sites to find different deals.