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Davey pledges to boost ‘consumer power’ in energy battle

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Energy secretary Ed Davey has announced plans to create more competition for the big six energy suppliers in his annual energy statement.

Davey set out a number of measures to parliament intended to make it easier for consumers to switch in search of a better deal including:

-Reducing the duration of the switching process from five weeks to 24 hours
-Forcing energy companies to inform customers of the cheapest tariff
-Forcing energy companies to be more transparent about how credit balances and surpluses are treated in customers’ accounts
-Penalties for organisations breaching fair market rules and possible criminal sanctions for those who manipulate markets

“The energy market needs to change to put consumers in control,” he said.

“That means making it easy for people to change supplier to save money, it means regular market assessments to check their behaviour, and it means tougher penalties for market manipulation and putting an end to opaque finances.

“We want to push energy companies to make switching quicker and easier – because consumer action can force suppliers to change their ways.”

Renewable heating supplier, Innasol,   has spoken out against the proposed changes as not going far enough to end the dominance of the big six in the energy market.

“Energy companies are counting on Brits’ tendency to grumble about – but put up with – what they see as an inevitability,” said Silvio Spiess, ceo of Innasol.

“But this will only work as long as consumers remain unaware that there are realistic alternative to traditional energy suppliers. Renewable heating technologies, such as biomass boilers and heat pumps, can provide full heating and hot water for a property throughout the winter at a fraction of the price of a dual-fuel bill.

“If they’re threatened, we expect the big energy companies to come out fighting with the same old, tired myths and untruths about renewables. If so, we look forward to running a side-by-side comparison – two families on the same street, one with renewable heating, one with gas / electric. That’s the way to challenge energy companies effectively, and we hope that they accept it.”