All energy companies have a responsibility to make their best deals easily available to customers
By OVO Energy Tuesday 20 September 2011
“We must share the blame for customers not getting a fair deal,” says energy boss.
OVO Energy has called for all energy companies to end the practice of offering teaser rates to new customers, as it releases new research showing 39% of energy customers don’t trust their providers because they can’t understand if they’re getting a fair deal.
The fastest-growing independent energy provider is already the only company to guarantee that new and existing customers get the same deal under its Fair Price Pledge – a measure aimed at restoring trust in the industry.
OVO’s managing director Stephen Fitzpatrick has admitted that all energy companies have a responsibility to provide fairer, more transparent energy tariffs that help customers easily identify the best deals.
“It is no wonder customers are put off switching suppliers. After navigating more than 300 available tariffs to find the best deal, most find that after twelve months they are right back where they started. All of us who provide energy have a job to help clean up this confusion,” he said.
It is common industry practice to offer new customers special deals and then sharply increase the rate after the first year. It is also common to prevent existing customers from signing up to the most competitive rates a supplier offers. Often the best deals are sold below cost, meaning existing customers actually end up subsiding new customers.
The resulting confusion has led to a breakdown in the consumer-supplier relationship, believes OVO. Its nationwide survey of 1000 energy users found that 52% of energy customers crave simple tariffs and 70% would have more trust in the energy market if the same deal was available to everyone.
OVO is committed to offering all customers the best rate it can. Under its Pledge, when a customer’s contract ends, OVO offers them the best current deal available, rather than rolling them onto a higher rate, as others do.
“Customers told us that they would trust the energy market more if everyone got the same deal,” explains Stephen Fitzpatrick. “We already offer new and existing customers exactly the same deal and today we are calling on the rest of the industry to do the same.
“It is time that the industry started listening to their customers and offered them what they’ve asked for – simple, straightforward and competitive energy. Customers shouldn’t have to keep switching energy companies; they should expect to be treated fairly by their own supplier.”