Government stops sending misleading 'save £290 switching energy' notices, after MSE intervenes
The Government has told MoneySavingExpert.com it will stop sending out letters with envelopes wrongly advising people to switch energy tariff after we revealed that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had sent the misleading advice to 10 million people.
In our exclusive story last week, picked up by many other media outlets, we revealed Government wording on letters to millions of people eligible for 'winter fuel payments' encouraged them to switch to save "an extra £290". Yet the energy crisis, which has seen costs soar and all cheap deals pulled, means the right action for most is to DO NOTHING or you could pay 30% more.
The DWP originally told us it would continue to use the envelopes as it would have been "impractical, costly and wasteful" to replace them with new ones. But after publicity on the back of our story, continued pressure from MSE, and Martin asking for a response for his TV show, the DWP then said: "The message on these envelopes was simply a suggestion and no further will be issued."
Here's what was on the envelope
An MSE reader shared an image of the message on the reverse of the envelope they received from the DWP:
Rather than switching, households are better off rolling on to, or staying on, their supplier's standard tariff, as then they'll be protected by regulator Ofgem's price cap until April next year.
MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis said at the time of our original story: "We are in an extreme energy bill crisis. The logic of how to manage bills has been turned on its head. There has never been a time when clarity of message and action is more important. That's why the Government mailing out an incorrect message to millions of people, including many of the nation's most vulnerable, is too big a risk to take.
"The right move for most people right now is to DO NOTHING – don't switch. That's because if you do nothing, you'll either be on or automatically moved to your provider's default standard variable tariff, which is priced-capped. The price cap forces energy firms to sell energy at below its cost price – there is no meaningfully cheaper option."