In January Citizens Advice said that too many customers who don’t switch energy suppliers were being ripped off.
We agreed. We said the energy industry’s offer to loyal customers was in effect Switch Or Suffer.
But evidence is growing that Switch AND Suffer would be more accurate.
Ofgem, the regulator, the price comparison websites and many consumer groups all strongly urge customers to switch to a better deal. The industry says many companies have joined the market making it more competitive.
What could possibly go wrong?
These embarrassing developments go a long way to explaining why some 13 million customers have not switched despite proof that their loyalty is punished by overcharging.
Government must make good its commitment to stop energy companies ripping off loyal customers. Competition alone cannot protect customers from overcharging in the current market.
* “Every year, Citizens Advice is contacted by tens of thousands of energy consumers. Newer suppliers are accounting for a growing share of these contacts, far and above their actual share of the market. Many consumers are telling us that they have experienced long telephone wait times, that companies have failed to respond to emails, or that they’ve been sent inaccurate bills – or in some cases no bills at all. Perhaps more worryingly, the lack of preparedness on the part of new suppliers means that households can be left without an energy supply for extended periods of time. We know that people can sometimes face significant mental and financial stress due to delays in getting their problems resolved.” Gillian Cooper, Head of Retail Markets, Citizens Advice, Utility Week, 07/02/18.