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Energy bosses: "Telling customers which deal is cheapest is too difficult"

Mark Vickery
by Lovemoney Staff Mark Vickery on 17 January 2013  |  Comments 7 comments

The Government wants energy suppliers to put customers on the cheapest deal for their circumstances. But according to the energy firms, that will be too difficult a task.

Energy bosses: "Telling customers which deal is cheapest is too difficult"

David Cameron’s proposed energy reforms have been dealt a blow as the boss of one of the big six energy suppliers has suggested that plans to automatically place customers  on their cheapest deal could be too difficult to implement.

Keith Anderson, chief corporate officer for ScottishPower, when giving evidence to the Energy Bill Committee in Parliament said: ““At its highest level it sounds perfectly sensible and laudable to say, ‘let’s put everybody on the cheapest tariff’. But you start to look at the detail and it becomes very complicated and it’s very difficult.”

Mr. Anderson also suggested that the logistics of identifying each individual customer's cheapest deal would be tricky, because of the intricacies of different energy tariffs and customer usage.

He said: “They actually have to sign to say that they want that tariff. There are a lot of complications that need to be worked through in terms of the mechanics of how it would work. And a lot of complications around the terms of what is the cheapest for that person, because that’s not always easy to work out either.”

For hard-pressed consumers across the UK who have been hit hard by price rises this will be a concern, as people are often confused about all of the options available when choosing a gas and electricity supplier. The best resource for those looking to see all of the cheapest deals available to them is not to wait for potential legislation but to use a price comparison service which compares all of the suppliers and available tariffs.

Taking control of your energy costs by comparing suppliers yourself is imperative in order to beat the recent price rises.

The cheapest gas and electricity deals



Average Cost

Saving vs Typical Bill*


First Utility

isave v14 (with Paper Billing)



Prices fixed for 3 months then variable. Cancellation fees apply

Co-op Energy




No cancellation fees.

First Utility

isave Fixed v6



Prices fixed until 30 April 2014. Cancellation fees apply.

OVO Energy

New Energy Fixed



Prices fixed for 12 months. Cancellation fees apply.


Blue +Price Promise June 2014



Prices fixed until 30 June 2014. No cancellation fees.

Compare energy tariffs

* based on a typical dual fuel tariff costing £1,400 (Source: Energyhelpline January 8, 2013). All costs are for a yearly average usage dual fuel household paying by monthly direct debit. Average usage defined by Ofgem as 16,500 kWh p.a. of gas and 3,300 kWh p.a. of electricity.

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10 weird ways to save money on your household bills

The alternatives to the big six energy providers

Pensioner energy bills double in seven years

Government green plans to push energy bills up by £95

Warm Front scheme closing: apply now for free insulation

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Comments (7)

  • nickthecrip2
    Love rating 17
    nickthecrip2 said

    If it is difficult for them let them imagine how impossible it is for us!

    There is only one reason I can think of as to why they have so many tariffs & that is to confuse the customer. Do consumers needs REALLY vary that much for the companies to offer so many? I don't think so!

    Report on 17 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • meldrewreborn
    Love rating 74
    meldrewreborn said

    It doesn't need to be too difficult - each company is limited to just a variable tariff and a one year and 2 year fix. Then the customer has to opt.

    And a price change window of 2 weeks every 6 months where they can make changes - or even price changes to be announced on fixed days - so all have to announce on the same day.

    Report on 18 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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