Millions more people want to see action on energy prices since the election highlighting the impact of the government’s failure to take action, according to new research by consumer champion Which?
The significant increase, equivalent to 3 million people from April 2017 to September 2017, follows a lack of government action on energy bills, despite promises made on the campaign trail.
More than half of all people surveyed (56%) thought energy prices should be a key priority for the Government – up by 5 percentage points from April.
The highest increase was in the 25-year-old to 34-year-old age group, the group most likely to be first-time homebuyers, with the figure increasing by 14 percentage points (from 33% in April to 47% in September).
Consumers aged 45 to 54-years-old see energy prices as the biggest issue, with 63% saying the Government should make it a key priority, up from 54% before the election.
The research highlights the need for urgent action to address sky-high energy bills, which have risen by more than 40% for gas and 35% for electricity over the last 10 years.
The results come as British Gas’ price increase took effect yesterday, which sees electricity prices rise by 12.5%, with bills for a typical dual-fuel household on its standard tariff set to jump by £76 to £1,120 in a year.
British Gas’s price hike follows a string of similar announcements earlier this year from the other big providers, EDF Energy, SSE, E.On, nPower and Scottish Power.
In Which?’s research, based on a representative UK survey of over 2,000 people, only social care for older people (68%) ranked higher as a concern. Addressing financial fraud and scams (40%) and ensuring people save enough for retirement (22%) were also key for consumers.
Ahead of party conference season, Which? is calling for the Government and all parties to commit to tackling the broken energy market as a top priority. The Government must address the lack of competition in the market and set out a detailed action plan to ensure that energy companies deliver a better service for their customers.
Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Products and Services, said:
“Consumers are sick of the endless debate about energy prices and want action immediately. Our research shows this is an issue that affects almost everyone, with a growing number of younger people worrying about their energy bill. Ministers say they are prepared to act, so now is the time to urgently set out how they will make this broken market work for consumers.”
Notes to eds
- Populus, on behalf of Which?, conducted a repeat survey on the public’s consumer priorities. They surveyed 2077 UK adults online between 9th and 10th September 2017. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of the UK population. The baseline survey was conducted, again by Populus between 19th and 20th April 2017. A total of 2130 UK adults were surveyed online. These data were also weighted to be demographically representative of the population. People were asked to pick up to three consumer issues from a list provided that they believed the (next) Government should prioritise.
- Consumers looking for cheaper energy deals can compare deals with Which? Switch, a transparent and impartial way to compare energy tariffs and find the best gas and electricity supplier: www.which.co.uk/switch
- Recent research from Which? showed that those on a standard variable tariff with one of the Big Six suppliers pay on average £1,151 per year. By switching to the cheapest available tariff, they could be saving up to £320. These figures are from data provided by Energylinx, for a medium user (according to Ofgem averages of 3,100kWh electricity and 12,500kWh gas per year), paying by monthly direct debit with paperless billing. Prices are averaged across the UK. Data is correct on 13th September.
- British Gas announced their price increase on August 1 2017.
- Population of UK over 18 years old – see figure 5 > https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/articles/overviewoftheukpopulation/february2016