Last week the 500,000th person joined Cheap Energy Club – not bad going in our bid to slash your energy bills. We launched in early February, and I can’t deny it’s been a big learning curve.
Being able to see the detail of the switching process has revealed many systematic issues that need to be tackled. Here’s a snapshot of the problems we’ve spotted, which we’ll be taking to the powers that be:
- Tariff names are confusing. Despite the Government’s efforts to simplify tariffs and bills, many of you are still telling us confusing deal names are hampering your attempts to switch. What’s worse, it seems suppliers are telling comparison sites to name tariffs in a particular way, and then displaying them completely differently on your bills.
- Switching takes too long. Switching usually takes around six weeks, but in some cases it can be even longer. In my opinion it’s not acceptable for switching to take this long – in fact, the EU agrees. Its rules say energy switching should take no more than three weeks, yet this doesn’t seem to be happening. So it’s about time Ofgem forced this through, to allow a better experience and to encourage competition.
- Suppliers purport to know nothing about your switch. We’ve been inundated with emails from you saying when you call the new supplier to see where your switch is up to, you’re being told it knows nothing about it. We know this isn’t the case. Yet either from lack of information or a desire to pump personal sales targets, you’re being misinformed.
- You end up paying more after you’ve switched. This one issue is at risk of massively undermining the switching process. Some of you find that once you’ve switched to a cheaper tariff, your direct debit rises. This can be the new firm over-estimating what you’ll use, or the old one under-estimating. Even though the information passed on via the comparison site is used, so you can still end up paying a higher amount. But this doesn’t mean you’re not saving!
These are just a few of the big issues we’ve encountered and hope to tackle.
Please share your thoughts below or in the forum discussion.