Citizens Advice Scotland has welcomed the new Ofgem campaign ‘be an energy shopper’, though has cautioned that more must be done to help struggling consumers.
CAS consumer spokesperson, Sarah Beattie-Smith, welcomed the new campaign saying,
“At CAS, we welcome any moves to make shopping around in the energy market easier. It’s shocking that half of us in Scotland are missing out when it comes to getting the best deal for our energy, yet many of us could be saving as much as £200 simply by switching.
“This Ofgem campaign should help consumers to compare tariffs and suppliers and start shopping around for better energy deals.
“If you are concerned or apprehensive about taking the first steps to switch, remember help is at hand. You can come into your local Citizens Advice Bureau for help, call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline (03454 04 05 06) for advice or go online to www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland.
“But of course campaigns like this have to go hand in hand with more fundamental reforms, from ensuring the energy market is truly competitive to helping people to keep more of the heat in their homes through energy efficiency programmes. We will continue to push for reforms to ensure that no one has to live in a cold home.”
Notes to editors - click to expand/collapse
- Citizens Advice Scotland is the national body which supports citizens advice bureaux in Scotland and provides advice services through our consumer helpline and www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland. We campaign for a fairer Scotland where people are empowered and their rights respected. From 1st April 2014 we are the national consumer champion on energy, post, water and more.
- The figure of half is taken from Ofgem’s press release which is copied below.
EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01HRS WEDNESDAY 23 APRIL 2014
21 MILLION BRITS MISSING A TRICK ON SHOPPING
FOR BETTER ENERGY BILLS
New campaign empowers the nation to start ‘energy shopping’
- 33% of Brits are concerned about their energy bills
- Yet 43% don’t prioritise shopping around for a better energy deal
- ‘Be An Energy Shopper’ campaign set to get the nation bargain hunting for a better deal on their energy
- It’s never been easier to get a better deal for your energy and you could save around £200 a year
Embargoed until 00:01 23rd April 2014, London: Research out today reveals Brit households shop around for everything in life, from holidays and insurance to gadgets and clothes - yet don’t place the same level of importance on shopping for their energy bills. Shockingly, almost half (43%) of Brits admit they don’t prioritise ‘energy shopping’ to find the best deal, despite the fact that it could save them precious pounds.
Previously, over half (53%) of baffled Brits said they have been confused by energy tariffs, and a third (33%) say their energy bills have been a concern. But not anymore - recent reforms have resulted in a simpler, clearer and fairer energy market which means finding a better deal has never been easier. What’s more, as part of the ‘Be An Energy Shopper’ campaign, an easy guide has been created - www.goenergyshopping.co.uk, to help cut through the confusion previously associated with comparing energy tariffs and in turn help people to start shopping around for their energy. The new website provides consumers with the know-how to check existing energy deals so they can get a better tariff.
The survey, commissioned to support the launch of ‘Be An Energy Shopper’ campaign, also reveals that the nation is currently overlooking the benefits of being an energy shopper with almost half (45%) of Brit bill payers saying they don’t feel they could save much money and one in four (24%) saying they thought shopping around for energy would be too much ‘hassle’.
Dermot Nolan, CEO at Ofgem says, “We shop and compare prices for many things in life, yet we often don’t think to do the same when it comes to our energy bills, even when we could be saving around £200. Previously, people found it difficult to compare tariffs and the process too time consuming but the recent reforms have changed things for the better. With the introduction of ‘Be An Energy Shopper’ it has never been easier to go energy shopping and get a better deal on your gas and electricity.”
Secretary of State for Energy, at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Edward Davey said: “Making the switch is easier than ever before, and the ‘Be an energy shopper’ campaign gives consumers practical advice on how to shop around and get the best deal for their energy use. Having made the switch myself, I would encourage anyone who hasn't already done so to check whether their current supplier is giving them the best deal - and if it isn’t, switch.
"We're working to make the energy market work better for consumers - we’ve trebled the number of suppliers since 2010, made people’s bills easier to understand, reduced the complexity of tariffs and promoted competition through initiatives such as collective switching. We want consumers to get the benefits of more competition.”
Konnie Huq, TV presenter and spokesperson for the ‘Be An Energy Shopper’ campaign adds: “As a wife and mother of two, it’s really important to me that I’m constantly getting value for money and energy is no exception to the rule. I personally love a good deal and this new website - www.goenergyshopping.co.uk – is an easy guide that will hopefully give people the confidence to get a better deal on their energy bills.”
ENERGY IS THE TOP ITEM WHERE BRITS FEEL THEY SPEND MORE THAN THEY WOULD DO, IF THEY SHOPPED AROUND:
1: Energy (16%)
2: Weekly Groceries (13%)
3: Presents & Gifts (10%)
4: Broadband (10%)
5: Holidays and Breaks (10%)
…SO WHY DON’T WE GO ENERGY SHOPPING?
Visit www.goenergyshopping.co.uk for an easy guide on how to
shop around for a better energy deal.
- ENDS -
For more information on the ‘Be An Energy Shopper’ campaign, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)20 7792 7418
Notes to Editors:
REGIONAL SHOPPER BREAKDOWN
- One in five (20%) people living in London, Wales and the South East feel they overspend on their energy
- Residents in Scotland and London are the least likely to prioritise shopping around for energy with 50% missing a trick when it comes to bargaining for better deals
- A whopping 60% of people in the North East find energy tariffs confusing, as well as 58% in the South East, and 57% in the North West
- More generally, Londoners are the savviest shoppers when it comes to bargain hunting and save an average of £50 per month, closely followed by the Welsh residents who save £44, and those in the North East who save £43
When analysing previous attitudes towards the energy market, in-depth consumer interviews found comparable results to the statistics detailed above, with respondents noting how the energy market had been a “minefield” to navigate and citing stories of the difficulties and obstacles previously involved when looking to switch energy suppliers. Overall the former process was considered as unnecessarily difficult and sometimes even detrimental to customers.
FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT www.goenergyshopping.co.uk
The website includes:
- New tools to help people compare the different tariffs
- A glossary explaining the language used on bills
- Links to other useful sites
- A downloadable guide which visitors can print off and read at their leisure, or pass on to family members who don’t have internet access
About the ‘Be An Energy Shopper Campaign’
The ‘Be An Energy Shopper’ campaign has been launched by Ofgem in response to consumer demand for impartial advice on how to compare tariffs in the gas and electricity markets. An easy guide has been set up at www.goenergyshopping.co.uk to show how the recent changes to the energy market can help them to compare tariffs and get a better deal on their gas and electricity bills.
Ofgem is the GB energy regulator. Everything we do is aimed at making a positive difference for consumers. For more information on Ofgem please see our website on: www.ofgem.gov.uk
 Source: Estimated using findings from mid-2012 GB population estimate from the Office for National Statistics: https://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/re-reference-tables.html?edition=tcm%3A77-319259
 ICM interviewed a random sample of 5084 adults aged 18+ via its online (n=4,081) and telephone (n=1003) omnibuses between 28th February – 9th March 2014. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.icmresearch.co.uk