Website launched to find cheapest energy prices
A NEW energy-switching website, which promises to keep households on the cheapest deal by constantly monitoring their tariff, is being launched today.
The Cheap Energy Club, launched by Martin Lewis, the founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, believes it could shift the market in favour of consumers.
Mr Lewis hopes it will encourage consumers to switch providers to cheaper tariffs.
The site checks users are on the cheapest deal according to their usage and location and suggests the best alternative for those who are not.
It also carries out a monthly “bespoke” comparison and alerts the consumer once their specified savings amount has been reached.
Mr Lewis said the site aimed to become successful enough to engage in collective switching, which allows bulk-bought one-off deals offered by intermediaries. Last year, a quarter of a million people signed up to the Big Switch – a collective switching campaign led by the consumer group Which?.
The most competitive tariff came from Co-operative Energy, which offered customers an average £125 off their yearly bills.
Mr Lewis said the site had required a “massive” technological investment and would be paid a referral fee by most providers if consumers used it to switch to one of them.
But he said the providers that paid were not automatically placed at the top and comparisons were based solely on calculated results.
The site comes a day before the government’s announcement on energy tariffs and follows a survey that found 55 per cent of householders have not switched in the past three years, with 22 per cent saying they do not think the benefits are worth it, 17 per cent citing “too much hassle” and 10 per cent complaining that the process is too confusing.
The average household energy bill has risen from £522 in 2004 to £1,352 today – an increase of £830 or 159 per cent.
All of the big six energy companies have introduced price increases in the past four months – and almost nine out of ten households (87 per cent) say they will be rationing their energy use this winter.
Campaigners, including Which?, have called for simpler energy tariffs and tighter regulation of the energy sector.
Mr Lewis said: “The energy market is broken, competition is failing, consumers are being shafted and the underlying roar of dissatisfaction is growling louder. Many people are confused, scared or disaffected with the idea of switching.”
Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: ““Helping consumers get a better deal on their energy bills is a top priority.”
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