Energy: Prices

Energy and Climate Change written question – answered on 27th February 2014.

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Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth Labour, Coventry North East

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps his Department takes to (a) monitor the level of and (b) support (i) individual and (ii) collective switching of energy companies by customers.

Photo of Michael Fallon Michael Fallon The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills , Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, Minister of State for Portsmouth

Levels of individual switching are monitored through the switching statistics released in the DECC publication Quarterly Energy Prices. These figures are sourced from Ofgem and count switches between different suppliers. The latest available figures are for quarter 3 of 2013, and are available at the following link:

On support for individual switching, Ofgem’s Retail Market Review reforms provide all consumers with clearer tariff choices. We recognise vulnerable consumers may need extra help and advice to engage with the energy market and to give them the confidence to switch. DECC has recently announced a further £l million funding for the Big Energy Saving Network to continue this programme of consumer outreach led by around 500 specially trained energy advisers from voluntary organisations and community groups, into 2014-15.

We have also announced plans to speed up the time it takes to switch energy supplier and we have recently taken a power in the Energy Act to require energy suppliers to provide key consumer data through QR codes on all energy bills, to help facilitate the development of smartphone or tablet applications which could make switching quicker and simpler.

The Department has published data on the level of collective switching of energy companies by customers from collective switching schemes supported by Cheaper Energy Together, however we do not monitor this on an ongoing basis. The evaluation of Cheaper Energy Together is available at this link: Switching_and_Beyond_final__2_.pdf

DECC continues to support the development of new collective switching schemes that will help consumers get the best deal, for example, we recently published updated guidance for organisers of collective switching schemes.

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