Anna Turley, MP for Redcar, has today questioned energy industry body Energy UK on why they are holding the public responsible for their rip off energy bills.
Lawrence Slade, Director of Energy UK the trade association representing energy providers and suppliers, was before the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee today to take questions from MPs.
Anna asked Mr Slade why the onus was on bill payers to navigate the system and regularly switch to the best price to protect themselves from being ripped off.
Many of the large energy suppliers operate on a model where most of their customers are on the default tariff – known as a standard variable tariff – which is usually the most expensive one.
The latest figures show at least half of the customers of the big six energy suppliers are on SVTs – British Gas 74%, EDF 56%, EON 73%, Npower 59%, Scottish Power 50%, SSE 91%.
Earlier this month Npower sparked anger by revealing a 15% increase in its electricity prices and a 4.8% rise for gas.
Responding to Mr Slade’s argument that lower prices would be achieved by consumers switching between energy suppliers, Anna said: *Check against delivery*
“Why should people have to keep changing their bills, keep looking at their energy prices, keep feeling like they are being ripped off and having to try to protect themselves from being ripped off.
“Surely this is the wrong way round.
“Surely people should be able to trust the company they are with, know they are getting a good deal, and just be able to get on with their lives.
“Why are we putting the onus on people to play the market when the majority of people are just trying to go about their business and want to just pay for a fundamental utility to support their life.”
In his response, Mr Slade acknowledged that not all customers were motivated to regularly manage their energy account and that the industry needs a better understanding of customer needs.