Keir Starmer asks 'Who is going to pay?' over Truss' energy plan

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Households across the UK, who have been looking to get a better deal on their energy by signing onto another company, have reportedly been blocked by the UK’s largest suppliers, in what could potentially be a breach of their licence obligations. Industry regulator Ofgem requires energy companies to accept new customers as a condition of their licence. The “big five” energy companies in the UK, are reportedly turning away potential customers, informing those who apply online for a tariff, that they should stay with their current supplier. 

The issue first appeared after some consumers reported that they were unable to find an energy supplier who would take on. When they applied for a quote online, they received a message saying that they should remain with their current supplier and that the company was not providing quotes. 

Michael Donagy, a student and retail assistant, said that after he moved to a new home, he was unable to open an account with the current supplier and was unable to switch to a new supplier as no one would respond to online requests. 

He told the Guardian: “When I filled out the web form for the current supplier, a message told me to stick to my current provider!

“I’ve tried to call and it was a task just finding a phone number on the website, and I’ve spent a total of three hours on hold without getting through.”

In July, the energy regulator launched a long-planned  “switching programme”, helping customers switch their suppliers easier and faster, with the aim of strengthening competition in the energy sectors by encouraging customers to seek alternatives.

However, the soaring wholesale energy prices have ended the competitiveness of fixed-price contracts, as Ofgem’s price cap is usually the best tariff available. 

Before Prime Minister Liz Truss announced her Energy Price Guarantee, freezing bills at £2,500 for the next two years, Ofgem had raised the price cap to a staggering £3,549 from October 1.

While the new figure is fall lower than what was previously originally announced by Ofgem, the new energy price cap is still significantly higher than the already record-high £1,971 per year that Britons were facing since April.

While price comparison websites are no longer offering direct quotes to help consumers identify the best deals, Martyn James of the complaints website Resolver noted that ne of the most common reasons that many consumer switch is poor customer service.

He told the Guardian: “Just because there aren’t any switching deals doesn’t mean people won’t want to switch.

“I’ve seen some frankly jaw-dropping examples of poor service, ludicrous errors and blocking of complaints in the last month alone.”

Currently, the websites of the five biggest energy companies, British Gas, E.ON, EDF, ScottishPower and Ovo Energy stated that they would not be able to provide online quotes, advising customers that they were better of sticking with their current supplier. 

Covid origin breakthrough as ‘devastating’ report links US to China [REPORT] 
Putin’s dealt blow as Germany seizes shares in 3 oil refineries [INSIGHT]
‘Norway first!’ Panic as UK’s biggest exporter facing pressure to cut [REVEAL]

Through a web chat, British Gas confirmed to the Guardian that it was not currently accepting any new customers because Ofgem advised against switching while energy prices remained volatile. 

EDF and ScottishPower said that they would accept new customers on a standard variable rate by telephone, however, they did not mention that option on their websites.

While EDF’s contacts page told its customers to only the busy phone lines during an emergency, while ScottishPower referred people back to the website due to high call volumes.

An E.ON spokesperson said: “With energy prices at a record high, it is recommended that customers stay with their existing supplier. However, customers can sign up to receive an alert as soon as we are in a position to offer competitive fixed-price tariffs for new customers, or can call us to discuss their tariff.”

Source: Read Full Article