Advanced search

This topic is for discussions about campaigns Mumsnet is running or may be planning to run. Go here for other campaigns or petitions.

Would you support a campaign to get all consumers onto the 'cheapest' energy tariff?

(33 Posts)
RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 29-Oct-12 13:05:58


We've been approached by a group of campaigning organisations who want to call on the government to consider measures obliging energy companies to switch users to the lowest available gas and electricity tariffs.

You may remember that David Cameron caused a bit of a stir when he referred to this at Prime Minister's Questions a couple of weeks ago.

Opinions seem to be divided on this one. Some organisations say it's the best way to address what the public often see as the big energy companies 'fixing' retail prices. Others argue that it would be a policy disaster.

What do you think - is this a campaigning objective you'd like us to get behind? Let us know what you reckon.


bureni Tue 06-Nov-12 16:10:06

I do not have any choice since we only have 1 energy supplier for gas and electricty (N.I) so there is no competition just high prices, thankfully I use no oil, gas and little mains electric.

DrJac Tue 06-Nov-12 16:05:32

As stated above this would reduce competition and just mean that the lower tariffs would be withdrawn.
More important is to force a switch to renewable energy production and make it clear that the global fuel companies are making a profit by risking our children's future.

hattifattner Wed 31-Oct-12 13:21:05

rowan, I think it shows a complete lack of trust in our utility companies, we all think they are grasping barstewards that will sell their own grandmother take advantage if they see a profit in in. There are no altrusitic or ethical suppliers.

MissKeithLemon Tue 30-Oct-12 14:38:28

Cap their profits, remove the VAT, regulate their fees.

Exactly this. If this Government is serious about lifting peolpe out of fuel poverty it would legislate so that that large (some overseas) groups of shareholders were not making a profit on the back of ever increasing prices.

ATM I think only the Co OP have any sort of ethical policies whatsoever and their hands are largely tied as they have to purchase the raw materials from the others.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 30-Oct-12 12:01:50

Hi there

Thanks for all the input; looks like a fairly resounding 'no'!

mollymole Tue 30-Oct-12 10:15:41

Not a good idea IMO all it would do is encourage the energy companies to have a single tariff, that which is most beneficial to them, it would remove genuine choice of the 'cheapest' tariff or some other deal.

Zombieminx Tue 30-Oct-12 07:03:59


The average "cheapest" tariffs would go up under such a measure, I suspect.

A cap on profits is never going to happen under a Tory govt either! But I'm sure that a tax on profits over a certain level, with the proceeds going into a hardship fund would be well received. As would a law forcing companies to decrease prices when oil prices go down, and a cap on price rises (like the train companies have).

LineRunner Mon 29-Oct-12 22:32:06

Totally agree with that, mercibucket.

mercibucket Mon 29-Oct-12 22:27:55

Nope, we may as well just re-nationalise and have done with it. Which would not be such a bad idea.

LineRunner Mon 29-Oct-12 22:17:42

Yes, I would support this, as long as the cheapest tariffs are genuinely keeping people out of fuel poverty.

AnnieLobeseder Mon 29-Oct-12 22:07:21

No, they'll just have one blanket high price for everyone.

How about the government stopping the energy companies from putting ALL their prices up by 10% at the beginning of winter when many families with vulnerable children and elderly people already can't afford to heat their homes? Their profits are huge and are being gained at the cost of actual real human lives. How many deaths will there be this winter while the shareholders are holidaying in sunny places?

Snorbs Mon 29-Oct-12 21:30:46

As soon as there's a legal obligation to offer the cheapest tariff then the energy companies will simply change to having one tariff each. Sure they'll claim it's in the interests of the consumers by "making things simple" but they'd have zero incentive to do anything else.

MikeLitorisBites Mon 29-Oct-12 18:56:38

Well, ime the cheapest is a good deal for the supplier as it probably a fixed term contract.

They either have a guaranteed customer for 2 years or the customer has to pay to end the contract early. Win-win for the supplier.

BettyandDon Mon 29-Oct-12 18:49:41

I think to a certain extent the companies are trying to do this already albeit in a wolf in sheeps clothing scenario.

I think they try to put new punters / house movers etc straight on to their standard tariff which IME is among the most expensive.

There is no motivation for them to offer the cheapest, but I agree with others who think that prices will go up if they do this. They only want a minority of customers to sign up on the cheapest prices, then they want to trade them up to different more expensive tariffs. This is exactly what happened to me with Scottish Power - the 'cheapest' online tariff I was on only lasted 12 months and they have given me the option to now either leave or join another more expensive tariff!

The problem is the visibility of the tarrifs(often about 20 to pick from) and the lack of information you need as a consumer to see which is the best for you. For this reason I don't think you should ever be sold to over the phone.

I think the whole system needs overhauling. It's not like groceries when you can have basics; standard; finest and expect a real difference in quality - it's blinking gas and electricity - IT IS ALL THE SAME!!!!

MissHairspray Mon 29-Oct-12 18:49:31

No way, for all of the reasons above. Better to push government to put all of the money it gets from increased vat revenues every time price go up back to help people who need it with their bills.

MikeLitorisBites Mon 29-Oct-12 18:42:46

What is cheapest for me may not be cheapest for mrs jones next door. The 'cheapest' tariff may not necessarily be the best for everyone.

People need to be educated on getting the best deals for the energy they use.

I work for one of the big six suppliers and as much as our staff try to tell people what tariff is best for them, people just dont want to listen. I cant see people taking kindly to having that decision being made for them.

ByTheWay1 Mon 29-Oct-12 18:29:29

the prices will go UP if this does come in....

I am quite happy with my tariff thanks....

I ring every 6 months and ask for their cheapest tariff and usually find I am already on it- then check on line comparison site to see if it is still competitive. I take probably 30min every 6 months to do this...

I do the same annually with insurances and savings/bank/ISA accounts - it is not hard to do and saves or makes money most times...

MrsHoarder Mon 29-Oct-12 18:03:54

I would like a ruling that each company can only have 1 tariff, so when someone does a price comparison they know they are being charged the currently advertised rate and haven't been shunted onto something more expensive.

Free markets only work when consumers understand pricing.

poorbuthappy Mon 29-Oct-12 17:44:33

It would just be start to make them drop the bloody prices when the oil price goes down.

WorriedBetty Mon 29-Oct-12 17:40:42

Er of course I mean yes. Making a decision on energy is one that really shouldn't take 6 hours a month to stop you getting screwed by the company you trust but that is what they rely on so that they can stealth screw you whilst you are focussing on other things.

Of course businesses being businesses, will try to find a way around all this. I think the suggestion on the table is between telling customers about possible lower tariffs, or automatically switching them/charging them what they would be charged on the tariff that is best for their useage in that particular month.

Could we also add a requirement that the monthly plans aren't allowed to build up credit every month in the year, but should rather operate in debit in deep winter and credit in high summer, rather than as happens now, my money being with the power company all year round instead of in my bank account - we used to pay power in arrears - how have we allowed these companies to fix it so that we pay in advance and at rates higher than our useage?!

WorriedBetty Mon 29-Oct-12 17:31:48

No Way! The electricity companies have to screw as many customers as they can get away with screwing, in order that they can make profit. Profit isn't important to your regular punter, because they are lumpen and stupid, but it is to the real people - those with good values, large houses, cars, holidays and families with kids who have expensive tastes. We can't expect these poor people to have to not continually grow their investments, otherwise they wouldn't be able to start hobby buisinesses selling bunting to pay for more clothes from monsoon.

Even if you are poor, going into Monsoon is a joy. Similarly in Monsoon, its important that clothes are expensive so that you get a jolt of adreneline when you buy - that's part of the deal that keeps you addicted, and of course Monsoon needs to screw as many of its customers as possible so that wealthy people who have spare money to invest in shares can keep seeing their investments grow.. If you can't buy electricity AND monsoon, then don't worry, the banks will make you have more money, by making money itself more expensive so that the people with large houses, cars, families with expensive tastes, and banking shares can make more money.

Its very important for it to be easy for some people to make more money, because those poor idiots often spend it all on things that they need to make money from, so that they can spend more money. We must pity them, for they know not what they are.

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Mon 29-Oct-12 15:21:57

No. Something needs to be done to stop them increasing the prices across the board. They earn millions each day whilst people struggle to pay their bills. It's daylight robbery! I agree with a cap on their profits.

They are milking the consumer dry! angry

inovacije Mon 29-Oct-12 15:16:37

I'd first get a list of all them all, including the price/cost breakdown.
That way one can see what could cause the prices to go up... Hence, we can control the system...

ZombTEE Mon 29-Oct-12 15:05:12

Cap their profits, remove the VAT, regulate their fees.

If you put everyone on the lowest tariff, they will just make sure that's the highest, IYSWIM. Greedy bastards.

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Mon 29-Oct-12 14:57:18

Much better to cap their profits.
And while they're at it, remove the VAT.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: