New Which? research reveals that three-quarters of consumers are completely confused by their energy bills, finding them by far the most complicated of the households bills they receive.
We surveyed nearly 1,600 people about their household bills and found 74% of those who receive energy bills ranked them as the most complicated, far ahead of any other type of bill. Landline phone bills came second, but just one in seven (14%) found these as complicated.
One in ten (9%) said their mobile phone bill was very complicated, 6% said the same about their council tax and water bills, while it was just 5% for broadband bills. This is despite new rules introduced a year ago by the energy regulator, Ofgem, to make energy bills clearer. We also found that only three in 10 (30%) are completely confident they could check the accuracy of their energy bills.
Separate Which? research has also revealed that moving to a fixed deal will save most people money. Around three-quarters of us are on suppliers’ standard tariffs which have increased in price on average by 4% (or £44 a year) in the past two years. Yet, the cheapest current deals are fixed tariffs, which have dropped by an average of 7% (or £83 per year) in the last two years. Most of cheapest deals are currently fixed deals, which are typically 10% cheaper than standard tariffs.
Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:
“Despite efforts to make bills simpler to understand, our research shows people are still bamboozled. Consumers can’t tell whether they are getting a fair deal from their energy supplier and are losing out as a result.
“We want the CMA to force suppliers to make bills clearer by adopting simple pricing, like you see on a petrol forecourt. In a truly competitive energy market people should be able to spot the cheapest deal at a glance, making it easier to switch supplier.”
Which? believes that energy bills should be easy to understand, which is why we are running a campaign calling for fair energy prices. Our campaign has more than 192,000 supporters and you can show your support at www.which.co.uk/fairenergy
Notes to Editors
1. We surveyed 1,592 Which? members in February 2015 and this is the full list of bills looked at:
2. All tariff information from Energylinx and for a medium user (3,200 kWh of electricity and 13,500 kWh of gas per year) on a credit meter paying by monthly direct debit and averaged across all UK regions.
3. The Which? Consumer Insight tracker reveals that over the last month:
- Energy prices are the top consumer worry, with two thirds of people (66%) saying they are worried about energy prices
- Only one in four (23%) people currently trust gas and electricity companies to act in their best interests.
4. If you think you might be missing out on the cheapest energy deal you can use Which? Switch to compare energy prices. Which? Switch is an independent service that searches the market to provide a comprehensive, transparent and impartial view of your gas and electricity options, including supplier and tariff ratings to help you decide on service as well as price.