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60% of consumers still don't understand energy bills

60% of consumers still don't understand energy bills

A survey of 2,000 adults has found that customers vote energy suppliers the worst offenders for sending confusing bills, coming behind those including water companies, mortgage lenders, councils, phone companies and credit card lenders.

Consumers haven't noticed an improvement to bills

Despite Ofgem reforms two years ago designed to make energy bills easier to understand, almost half (48%) of consumers have noticed no difference.

Under the introduced reforms, suppliers had to provide a summary box on the front of the bill containing all the basic details such as tariff name, what type of tariff it is, payment method, and exit fees. Alongside this, suppliers were required to give information about their cheapest available tariff — this was to encourage "sticky" customers to move off of a supplier's standard plan and save with a better (usually fixed) deal.

However, over half (51%) of consumers can’t recall seeing the details of cheaper plans.

Of those who are aware that the cheapest tariff is displayed on their energy bill, fewer than half (47%) switched – suggesting more can be done to prompt consumers away from expensive energy plans.

The search for clarity

Since QR codes came onto paper and online energy bills in June 2015, manually entering details from a bill to run a comparison for your energy isn't always necessary; this means there is less pressure for onsumers to understand their bills to save money. The QR codes on bills contain all the information needed to run a comparison and reveal if there's a better deal for you. Using a QR code scanner, the code's data can be interpreted; this data includes:

  • Your plan name
  • Your plan's rates
  • Your consumption (how much gas and/or electricity you use)
  • Annual bill period dates

The Uswitch app is one app that has utilised functionality to run a comparison by using the in-app QR code scanner, and compare the details held within it to show you cheaper plans on the energy market.

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Alternatively, if you're running a comparison online, Uswitch's handy bill guides show you where to find the usage details you need from your supplier's bill.

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