Price cap and cheaper energy for 12 million homes welcomed
Up to 12 million households should have cheaper energy bills this winter after Parliament approved a price cap last week.
The government acted after research showed that customers on standard rate tariffs were overpaying by £1.4 billion a year.
Consumers end up on these plans by default if they fail to act when prices rise, or when their fixed rate deals comes to an end, or because they have never switched gas and electricity providers before.
MPs and Lords have given the go-ahead for the Energy Price Cap Bill, but it will be up to the energy regulator, Ofgem, to decide the amount once the law has been given royal assent.
It could save households up to £100 a year. That was the figure given by Prime Minister Theresa May in a general election pledge last year.
The move will apply to those who are not covered by existing caps and should be in place until at least 2020.
The decision was given a warm welcome by Midlands green energy expert Ron Fox who said: “This will make a real difference to those who can’t or won’t change supplier.”
He continued: “Big energy companies won’t be able to blame wholesale prices for eye-watering price rises while making record profits, as some did last year.
“It will force them to focus on being more efficient, developing new products, and improving the way they talk to their customers if they want to boost profits.”
Most of the leading energy suppliers are strongly opposed to the price cap and Centrica, owner of British Gas, has said that the policy is partly to blame for its decision to axe 4,000 jobs.
But Ron pointed out that customers can save hundreds more pounds by switching supplier now.
“It is such a simple move,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park. He added that those who had switched from a variable rate tariff to a fixed rate deal would have saved around £376 a year.
Firstly, people should enter the tariff and energy usage from their most recent bill on a price comparison website such as www.EnergyHelpline.com which will suggest the cheapest supplier.
Then contact your new supplier with your postcode, the name of your existing supplier and how much you pay plus an up-to-date meter reading.
It will then notify your current supplier and the switch should take no longer than three weeks to complete with no interruptions to your supply.
Meanwhile, for those looking for even more freedom from rising energy costs, Ron recommends renewable alternatives.
These include rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, which change the sun’s energy into domestic electricity, and air source heat pumps, which work by absorbing heat from the atmosphere and converting this into power for the home.
For more advice contact Ron on 0845 474 6641 or go to www.noreus.co.uk