Shopping around still ‘best bet for good energy deal’

Cash-strapped energy customers may be tempted to stick with their current provider if they offer them a deal, but price comparison site Gocompare.com …

Cash-strapped energy customers may be tempted to stick with their current provider if they offer them a deal, but price comparison site Gocompare.com suggests shopping around will save consumers more. 

The advice comes in the wake of news that British Gas is offering a five per cent cut in prices. This is the second such reduction it has made in six months. 

While the deal sounds attractive, energy spokesperson at Gocompare.com Caroline Lloyd suggest it is nowhere near what consumers could get by spending some time checking the competition. 

"By the time British Gas hands over its five per cent reduction on 27th August, standard tariff gas customers could already be reaping the benefits of an even cheaper tariff by taking advantage of the industry's new faster switching and securing a best buy fixed tariff deal," she said. 

Gocompare.com estimates that customers could save as much as £300 or more by switching to one of the best buy deals currently on the market. 

Nearly one-quarter (23 per cent) of households in the UK have switched energy provider in the last 12 months. However, some 27 per cent haven't done so in over three years, while 25 per cent have never changed supplier. 

A recent report by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that British Gas, E-On, Npower, EDF Energy, Scottish Power and SSE have been charging too much for their energy. 

The average bill for gas and electricity is £1,200 per year, according to the CMA. The bad news is that for the poorest ten per cent of households that bill accounts for approximately ten per cent of their total expenditure. 

Customers were either confused by their billing or believed that switching would be too difficult and this, the CMA said, meant that suppliers were able to take advantage of the situation. 

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