Skip to main content

Why I’m welcoming Chris Huhne’s warning to energy companies

Ahead of his speech to the Liberal Democrat conference in Liverpool the Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, has pledged to act to make sure that energy suppliers will have to give their customers advance warning about price rises. At the moment, energy companies don’t have to notify customers that their prices have changed until 65 working days after they’ve made the alteration.

I welcome any move that will increase transparency in the energy market and ensure that people get a better deal from their provider. At uSwitch we have always argued that energy suppliers need to be more transparent in the way that they communicate with their customers and this is a step in the right direction. With the high energy prices we’re seeing at the moment it’s vital that we all stay on top of our energy bills, so we support any move that will encourage suppliers to be more upfront about price changes and give people more time to adapt their energy usage and their budget accordingly.

I’m also looking forward to hearing more from the coalition government about its plans to make suppliers highlight their cheapest energy tariffs on customers’ bills. The fact that Ofgem is due to consult with energy companies and other groups next month is a good sign. Despite the competitive market and the fact that online energy plans come in at around £250 a year cheaper than standard energy plans, there are still only 13% of UK households making the most of these cheaper plans. This is worrying and perhaps this move will go some way towards boosting awareness of this.