‘Suppliers should be fined for ripping off customers’

Energy suppliers should be fined for ripping off consumers. That’s according to a new report from the Social Market Foundation (SMF) think tank, which suggests the UK needs to do […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Energy suppliers should be fined for ripping off consumers.

That’s according to a new report from the Social Market Foundation (SMF) think tank, which suggests the UK needs to do more to encourage energy suppliers to move customers off their most expensive contracts.

It suggests government and regulators should ensure people who don’t switch suppliers still get a good deal by forcing companies to reduce the proportion of consumers on standard variable tariffs (SVTs).

The group suggests those who don’t make enough of an effort to do this should face a substantial fine.

It has set out a series of recommendations to improve the situation for these consumers, such as requiring all deals to be available to existing customers and making suppliers display and publicise the proportion of their consumers on the most expensive deals.

Nigel Keohane, SMF Research Director, said: “The government is right when it says markets must be fairer. In a period of falling real wages, how households spend their disposable incomes becomes ever more important.

“Many people feel they are being ripped off and poorer households in particular are vulnerable to unfairly high prices and unfavourable contracts.”