The government says that it will be taking extra steps to ensure that consumers find it easier to switch energy suppliers.
Research indicates that switching suppliers could be worth as much as £158 a year to hard-pressed households, although only 16 per cent actually made a move between March 2012 and March 2013.
The government had already pledged to back Ofgem’s market reforms but will also take extra steps by forcing energy suppliers to:
-Ensure customers on uncompetitive legacy tariffs are automatically moved to their supplier’s cheapest variable rate tariff
-Ensure customers who are on fixed deals are automatically moved to their supplier’s cheapest variable rate tariff when their fixed deal ends
-Make clear to all other customers what the cheapest deal is that suits their preferences
-Provide information to consumers in a format that would allow it to be read by an electronic device, such as a smart phone
The government will also provide £900,000 to set up a new Big Energy Saving Network to co-ordinate and provide advice on switching tariffs, and consider what more needs to be done to promote collective switching.
Energy secretary, Ed Davey, said: “When consumers are feeling the pinch, it’s not right that 84 per cent of households, including the most vulnerable, are put off switching or engaging in the energy market.
“Fundamental to overcoming this is Ofgem’s reform of the retail energy market. This will make the market simpler and fairer, and we’re using the Energy Bill to make sure these reforms are not delayed or frustrated.
“But we’ve got to do even more to put the best deals on a plate for people.
“This is why I’m announcing a new network of outreach by trusted organisations to help the most vulnerable in our communities. Trusted experts will provide meaningful, comprehensive advice on getting the best deal and support from government programmes.
“And I’m dragging energy bills into the 21st Century by requiring suppliers to include electronic information that will help millions compare and switch at the swipe of their smart phone.
“I want to turn the non-switchers into savvy switchers.”