Energy companies still worst for confusing customers
Consumers have voted energy companies the worst offenders for sending out confusing bills for the third year in a row
· Energy suppliers are voted the worst companies for providing confusing bills
· Despite Ofgem’s attempt to simplify bills, more than half (53%) of consumers haven’tseen any improvement since its reforms were introduced – and only a third (30%) say they are now easier to understand
· Under the reforms, suppliers must also provide information about the cheapest tariff available, yet over half (51%) of consumers do not recall seeing this on their bill.
Consumers have voted energy suppliers as the biggest culprits for sending confusing bills, according to new research from uSwitch.com, the independent price comparison and switching service. Energy companies come bottom of the table for the third year in a row, with mortgage providers coming top of the class.
In April this year Ofgem directed suppliers to improve the clarity of bills. Companies must now include clear information to help consumers manage their energy, including a personal projection of what they can expect to pay over the year based on their usage. They should also show information about the provider’s cheapest tariffs available to help consumers switch to the most competitive deal.
Yet despite these reforms, just three in ten (30%) consumers are finding bills easier to understand, and the majority (53%) have seen no change to them since the introduction of the new rules. Over half (51%) do not recall seeing anything on their bill about cheaper tariffs – and of those who have seen this information, just 41% have used it to switch to a better deal.
Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com, says: “It’s hugely disappointing to see energy suppliers once again ranked as the worst offenders for sending out confusing bills, particularly as most of us have by now received a new-look bill to deal with this very problem.
“While it’s encouraging that a third of consumers say their bills are easier to understand, the majority are still having difficulties getting to grips with them. The findings clearly show that Ofgem must look again at the effectiveness of their reforms, and work with consumers and suppliers to produce a bill format they can understand.
“Customers are facing sky-high energy prices and need to know where their money is going. Knowledge equals power – and people who are armed with clear information about their energy usage and spend will be in a better position to take control of their bills. We need to give consumers a reason to engage with the market, and helping them to understand their bills is the first step.”