Energy tariffs 'too confusing'
Published on 16 September 2013 11:30 AM
There are so many energy tariffs available that consumers are being left in a state of bewilderment, consumer group Which? has said.
The watchdog highlighted the vast array of charges, ahead of energy secretary Ed Davey's address to the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow.
Its investigation looked at the range of gas, electricity and dual fuel deals as well as standing charges available to a specific customer in one region of the UK.
The results showed there were more than 109 tariffs available that included 75 different standing charges. A standing charge is a fixed amount applied to a daily or annual bill.
These standing charges varied from zero up to £402 a year on individual gas and electricity deals combined, and by as much as £373 on a dual fuel bill.
Rising energy bills 'one of people's biggest financial worries'
The Government's energy regulator Ofgem is in the process of reforming the energy sector in an attempt to simplify fuel bills, but Which? has criticised its plans, claiming providers will still be allowed to include a standing charge as well as a unit price in their tariffs.
Which? is now calling on the energy secretary to take action to make tariffs even clearer, so they do not include standing charges at all and are displayed in the style of petrol forecourt prices, enabling consumers to spot the cheapest deal much more easily.
The watchdog described the current number of charges as 'bewildering' and said the market is 'too confusing for consumers to find the best deal for them'.
Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: 'At a time when consumers are struggling with the cost of living, and rising energy bills are one of people's biggest financial worries, the Energy Secretary must step in to make it easier for consumers to work out the cheapest deal.
'Ofgem's current plans to reform energy tariffs do not go far enough to simplify the market for consumers. If the Government fails to take more radical action, people will not feel confident that they are paying a fair price for their energy.'
Copyright Press Association 2013