October 28, 2015
Energy industry regulator, OFGEM, has amended the information energy suppliers must provide to customers, in regards to the Cheapest Tariff Message (CTM). Concluding that energy suppliers should include open Collective Switches in their CTM.
Since April 2014 energy suppliers have been obliged to inform their customers whether they're on the cheapest tariff or whether they could save money by switching to another one of their tariffs - acting as an information tool, prompting consumers to engage and make informed choices.
This information should feature on key supplier communications including bills, annual statements, end of fixed term notices and price increase notices. Have a look on some of your most recent correspondence from your supplier, you should be able to clearly see whether they can offer you a better deal.
The Development of Collective Switches
A recent change in to how Collective Switches are ran prompted OFGEM to review supplier practices and CTM. Previously, customers registered for a Collective Switch and then the registration period would close and a winning bid would be announced.
Now, more and more, bids from Energy Suppliers are announced and then the deal is available for more people to sign up to for a certain period of time. OFGEM have decided that this information should now be displayed on all energy suppliers' correspondence with their customers. Meaning if your supplier wins a Collective Switch bid with a tariff cheaper than the one you are on they will have to let you know.
If you would like to read OFGEM's open letter to suppliers, click here.
Energylinx welcome OFGEM's decision and would like to remind customers that they can compare their energy tariff against the whole of the market by using our free and impartial energy comparison and switching tool. Click here to see what you could save today.
Posted on October 28, 2015 at 05:13 PM
October 26, 2015
The Big Energy Saving Week launches today. Citizens Advice, Energy Saving Trust and The Department of Energy and Climate Change are offering households throughout the UK advice on how to save money on their energy bills.
From energy efficiency measures to switching your households energy supply, these guys have it covered and Energylinx fully support their end goal - to help people cut their fuel bills and get all the financial support they are entitled to!
Energy bills are the top financial concern for households and 63% of people believe that there is nothing that they can do about them. In reality, simply comparing and switching energy supplier could save hundreds of pounds a year. So why aren't we all following The Big Energy Saving Week's advice to Check, Switch and Save?
1) Check that you are getting the best deal from your current supplier
You don't necessarily need to leave your current supplier. Most suppliers will have up to four tariffs for gas and electricity, along with discounts for managing your bill online or choosing a "dual fuel" tariff.
2) Check if there is a cheaper way to pay your bills
As mentioned above, suppliers offer discounts for direct debit. On average it is £100 cheaper per year to pay by monthly direct debit than it is to pay by cash or cheque. Partner that with the discount you can receive for managing your account online, without switching you could still make a significant saving on your energy bills.
3) Check that you are getting ALL the benefits that you are entitled to
If you've reached state pension age you may get a Winter Fuel Payment to help with winter heating costs.
Some people who receive benefits can also get a Cold Weather Payment of £25 if the temperature drops below freezing in their local area for seven days in a row. You don't need to apply - if you are eligible it will be paid automatically in the same way you receive your benefits.
The Warm Home Discount scheme is a Government scheme, whereby energy suppliers provide rebates to households on certain benefits. The rebate is £140 for 2015/16 and you should contact your electricity supplier directly to see if you qualify.
If you have never switched your energy supplier before you might be surprised by how much you can save. Visit OFGEM's Be An Energy Shopper switching website for helpful tips to get started.
To make sure you get the best deal, you'll need to know:
1) the name of your current supplier
2) the name of your current tariff, usually found on your bill
3) the amount of energy you use
4) how you currently pay, and would like to pay with a new supplier
5) Your postcode.
Are you worried about how much money you're spending to heat and light your home? Do you want to spend less? The most effective way to pay less for your fuel bills is to save energy around your home.
Insulate your home
Did you know that approximately 33% of heat is lost through the walls of your home, and 26% through the roof?
Insulation acts like a duvet for your home, and slows down the rate at which your home loses heat, meaning you don't need to spend as much to keep warm.
Some of our favourite energy saving (and money savings!) tips are:
1) Heating costs rise by about 8% for every 1°C - so even turning down the heating a tiny bit can make a £75-a-year difference!
2) By maintaining your boiler, heating costs can reduce by about 30%. Ensure that your heaters and boilers are serviced at least annually and are adjusted for optimum efficiency.
3) Take your clothes out of the dryer before they're completely dry - they'll iron much quicker and use less energy.
4) Don't fill your kettle up every time, only boil the amount of water you need!
5) Keep your freezer full - Empty space in your fridge or freezer wastes not only space but energy too.
6) If you're going to use the oven, bake a few meals at a time to get the most out of having your oven on.
7) Or use the microwave instead of the oven. Microwaves use around 50% less electricity than conventional electric ovens.
Energylinx are one of 11 accredited OFGEM Comparison and Switching sites. To see what you could save, click here to be taken to our free and impartial comparison tool.
Posted on October 26, 2015 at 09:00 AM
October 15, 2015
Pre-payment energy provider, Utilita, has been hit with a £560,000 penalty after being found wrongly blocking customers from switching supplier between June 2010 and May 2015. Energy Regulator, OFGEM, found the supplier had been blocking customers in a variety of ways; including stopping those on fixed term contracts with Utilita transferring to another supplier.
Utilita also failed to inform customers in writing why their switch had been blocked and what action they could take to resolve any issues. The supplier has now made changes to its processes to ensure there are no barriers faced by customers should they wish to transfer to another supplier.
In total, Utilita have been ordered to pay a fine of £560,000. Step Change, a debt charity, are to receive £450,000 and £110,000 is to be refunded to any customer who financially lost out after being prevented from changing supplier.
Anthony Pygram, OFGEM'S Senior Partner with Responsibility for Enforcement said:
"The ability to switch suppliers is important for customers and fundamental to a well-functioning energy market. Utilita's prolonged failure to allow many customers to switch was unacceptable. Utilita acknowledges its failure and is rightly looking to refund customers left out of pocket."
OFGEM added that Utilita had co-operated well throughout the investigation and this was reflected in the penalty issued.
Responding to the penalty, Utilita has apologised "unreservedly" to those customers whom we wrongly prevented from switching supplier.
In a statement, Utilita added:
"Most customers impacted were only affected for a part of the period. Of those customers affected, under 10 per cent were left out of pocket. We will be contacting those customers as quickly as we can to rectify this. Our customers are vitally important to us and we have taken quick and decisive action to update and improve our switching procedures. None of the issues investigated remain a problem and all our transfer processes are now compliant."
Posted on October 15, 2015 at 11:34 AM
October 8, 2015
In the UK there are 13.5 million households that could financially benefit from comparing and switching their energy supplier. If we are happy to shop around for the best holiday deals, cheapest insurance policies and almost everything else, then why not one of our biggest household bills?
In a mission to reach those who haven't considered switching supplier (19% of UK Households), or those that simply lack the motivation to do so (67% of UK Households) the Department of Energy & Climate Change launched their second "Power to Switch" campaign today.
The first campaign took place in February 2015, and included television and radio adverts, billboards, as well as printed ones across the UK. It focussed on raising awareness of savings to be gained from shopping around for the best energy deal using OFGEM accredited sites such as Energylinx. DECC reported that 130,000 homes took up the call to switch energy and save during the last campaign, with the average dual fuel switch saving switchers £312 per year. It is hoped this campaign will experience the same kind of success.
Energy shopping is easy, straight-forward and could save you £200 on your energy bills. Click here to be taken to our free and impartial energy tariff calculator.
Posted on October 8, 2015 at 04:57 PM
October 7, 2015
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has appointed Ipsos MORI to conduct, on its behalf, research with domestic energy customers in Great Britain who are tenants.
The research will be used to understand the perceived or actual barriers to switching supplier that may be experienced by tenants, including contractual restrictions associated with tenancy agreements and other barriers to switching which may limit tenants' ability to engage in the energy market.
The CMA began looking at the UK energy market in July 2014, after a referral by OFGEM which was concerned that competition was "not working as well as it should for consumers". The final findings are due to be published in April 2016.
Are you a tenant?
It is a common misconception among people who rent that they have to accept the energy supplier they have when they move in to the property, however this is rarely the case. Last year OFGEM made it their mission to encourage the 9 million tenants currently in the UK to go energy shopping. The Be an Energy Shopper website includes key facts and top tips for breaking down the barriers which prevent tenants applying their practical shopping habits to their energy bills.
OFGEM's statistics regarding tenants energy switching behaviours:
• 77% of tenants say they have never switched energy supplier
• 20% of tenants are not aware that it is possible to switch to a different supplier
• Renters are only half as likely to switch compared to home-owners
• 9 million renters could save a massive £200 if they shopped around for their electricity
Don't stick with an expensive energy tariff, know your rights and compare suppliers today. You could save a small fortune. Click here to be taken to our free and impartial energy comparison and switching service.
Posted on October 7, 2015 at 03:11 PM