Angela calls for urgent action on energy bills
Hard-working families in Penistone & Stocksbridge could be saving over £5.3m a year by switching energy supplier
The Big Six energy suppliers are overcharging local families in Penistone & Stockbridge more than £5million a year, Angela Smith MP warned today.
The new figures, calculated by leading independent energy supplier First Utility, show that households in Sheffield are sitting on some of the most expensive energy tariffs in the country, costing them up to an extra £327 every year.
This is despite Government rules, introduced in 2012, which forced the Big Six to tell their customers if cheaper deals exist - a requirement some big suppliers are deliberately circumventing. Across Yorkshire, hardworking families are losing up to £355 million a year.
Angela urged households to switch energy supplier before winter begins.
Angela Smith MP said: “With half term just a few weeks away and Christmas coming up fast on the horizon, every extra penny matters at this time of year. Switching energy supplier only takes a few minutes; the Government guarantees you can switch in 21 days or less with no double-billing, and hard-working families could stand to save hundreds of pounds a year.”
Looking at today’s figures, Angela also expressed particular concern that the Big Six energy companies were profiteering from the loyal customers they had inherited from privatisation - a concern Labour first raised three years ago at Party Conference, under then Leader Ed Miliband.
The figures obtained by First Utility suggest that 85% of Yorkshire households are supplied by one of the Big Six, and of those, 70% are on their supplier’s most expensive tariff, the Standard Variable Tariff wasting an average of £283.
nPower, which acquired the pre-privatisation monopoly energy provider, Yorkshire Electricity in 2001, overcharges its loyal customers by more than any other Big Six provider, with a gap of up to £327.
Ed Kamm, UK MD, First Utility comments:
“Yorkshire is one of the regions worst affected by overspending and this is down to the tactics of the largest energy companies in the area, who deliberately keep their own customers in the dark about the better deals they have on offer - and, in some cases, exclude them altogether from accessing those deals. We want to help customers to realise that loyalty isn’t always valued by these big firms. We’re encouraging people to take back control. It’s time for consumers to stand up to their provider and switch away for the better deals.”
Angela Smith MP said:
“It is outrageous that, more than 15 years later, the Big Six are still profiteering from the customers they inherited from privatisation - many of them old, vulnerable or working families who are cash-strapped but time poor, trapped on the worst possible deals as a result. As a bare minimum, the Big Six should be forced to tell their customers on a regular basis if they have cheaper energy deals available. The Government should also consider legislating to force the Big Six to automatically switch their most loyal customers to their cheapest possible deals. The Big Six have been over-charging their loyal customers for far too long.”
Across the UK as whole, households supplied by the Big Six energy companies are paying a staggering £4bn more for their energy needs in 2016 year than they should be. This is £600m more than First Utility identified in 2015 when they became the first to publish such ground-breaking figures.