Energy Market Labelled a ‘Bewildering Lottery’ by Which?

Consumer group Which? has made several damning criticisms of the energy market in a new statement, going as far as to call the sector ‘broken’. Towards the end of 2012, the government aimed to simplify the energy market for consumers with the introduction of the The Energy Bill. The long-discussed legislature aimed to simplify the available tariff and make it easier for private and commercial energy consumers to choose the most cost-effective plan for their property.

However, new figures from Which?, laid out the ‘bewildering mess’ of options available to consumers and highlighted the prevalence of standing charges – fixed, daily charges commonly used to sober the cost of equipment.

Energy Market Labelled a ‘Bewildering Lottery’ by Which?

Using one theoretical customer as the crux of their argument, Which? enquired with several energy customers used the West Midlands as their base, and found a staggering 109 different tariffs were on offer, many including ’75 different standing charges’.

Which? said: “These standing charges varied, sometimes even within energy companies, ranging from zero up to £402 a year on individual gas and electricity deals combined and as much as £373 on a dual fuel tariff.”

Targets for Which?’s criticisms were sector watchdog Ofgem and Energy Secretary Ed Davey. The statement claimed Ofgem’s work so far doesn’t go far enough for consumers, insisting that they should do more to help commercial energy customers compare tariffs and deals. Which? say that failure to equip customers with this information leaves the market with “inadequate competitive pressure”.

Which? director Richard Lloyd said: “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.