A large minority of energy customers are becoming increasingly concerned about the cost of their energy bills as winter looms, with 41% saying they worry about how to heat their home later in the year.
According to a poll from Which? of the 2,106 adults they quizzed:
- A dwindling number of energy consumers trust their supplier to charge them a fair price, with only 18% saying they trust their supplier.
- One quarter (26%) said they did not know whether they could afford to heat their home this winter.
- Only 24% believed that competition between energy companies currently drove down prices for consumers.
Only one in five customers trust their energy supplier to charge them a fair price, a consumer watchdog has found.
The Which? poll showed a "shocking" lack of trust in companies like nPower and EDF, as only 18% of consumers trusted their supplier to charge them a fair price for the power they used.
More than half (54%) said they found it difficult to compare costs between companies.
However, one quarter (26%) rated their supplier for charging them a fair price.
Which? called for simpler tariffs alongside a "credible, independent benchmark" or a "price to beat" set by regulator Ofgem in order to restore consumer trust in energy companies.
New Which? research has revealed a shocking lack of trust in energy companies as they launch a new campaign calling for fair energy prices.
The consumer watchdog has launched a campaign calling for "fair " energy prices after the poll found just one in five people trusted suppliers' charging prices.
Which? has called for simpler tariffs alongside a "credible, independent benchmark" or a "price to beat" set by regulator Ofgem against which consumers could compare costs.
Energy suppliers have launched a campaign to reunite ex-customers with money left in their old account. Here is how you reclaim your money.Read the full story ›
A public spending watchdog said the smart meter rollout across Britain will cost every home £215 over the next 15 years but will only save consumers 3% annually on the average energy bill by 2030.
Consumers would save an average of 2% on the average bill of £1,328 until 2020, rising to £43 a year or 3% by 2030, the Government estimated.
The Commons public accounts select committee said the department for energy estimated the cost of the rollout would be £10.6 billion and households would contribute this through their energy bills.
The savings made by consumers were conditional on customers becoming more "savvy" and cutting their energy use, the committee warned.
It also said some aspects of the programme could be out of date by the time the meters are rolled out, saying consumers could receive the information on their smart phones but still have to pay for the "redundant" in-home displays.
The mass roll-out will start late next year and suppliers are obliged to take all reasonable steps to have them in households by the end of 2020.
The energy watchdog has urged customers who believe they may have money left in their former accounts to "come forward and make a claim."
Customers who think they haven't left a forwarding address or a final meter reading when they moved or switched should contact their old supplier.
The web site myenergycredit.com will help you do this.
Inevitably, there will be some former customers who will not be found and so the major suppliers are announcing what will happen to credit balances from now on.
In future, after two years, the credit balance will be used to help vulnerable customers - and suppliers will make it very clear what is happening.
The Big Six energy suppliers have launched a campaign to reunite former customers with money left in their accounts.
The MyEnergyCredit campaign will encourage customers who have switched suppliers or moved home without leaving a forwarding address to get in touch with their old company if they think they have left money behind.
Energy UK said £153 million in unclaimed credit had accumulated over the last six years, with the average balance at around £50.
The trade association said that from now on, after two years any unclaimed credit would be put towards funds to help the fuel poor and vulnerable, which would amount to at least £65 million over five years.
The Conservatives have accused Labour of bringing Britain's economy to its knees, after it announced proposals to revoke energy companies' licences helping protect the interests of the public. A Conservative Party spokesman said:
Labour left our country with a broken energy market and huge taxes on bills - meaning the number of people in fuel poverty nearly doubled in Labour's last five years.
We've been taking action to put this right. We've taken £50 off the average bill by rolling back green levies. We're carrying out a full, independent inquiry to fix the broken market we inherited. And we're forcing energy companies to simplify bills so people can be sure they are getting the best deal.
A new energy regulator would be charged with producing an annual scorecard for energy suppliers, reporting on the company's performance and identifying any possible areas of concern, Labour has announced.
Shadow energy and climate change secretary Caroline Flint said: "The public have a right to be treated fairly by energy companies. Where firms fail to meet these standards, there must be tough and decisive action. Too often energy companies seem to view the regulator's fines as a cost of doing business - not as a warning to get their act together.
"Of course consumers must be compensated - but if energy companies persist in mistreating their customers they must know their licence could be on the line."