'Energy inertia' causing UK households to waste £6.8b a year

06 October 2008 / by Rachael Stiles
UK households are throwing away £6.8billion every year in fuel bills by not shopping around for the cheapest energy deal, research from Confused.com has revealed.

Even as the soaring cost of living puts the squeeze on family finances, nearly 14 million homes waste an average of £490 each a year because they have not taken the initiative to switch energy provider, the comparison website found.

Now more than ever it is important for UK consumers to find the best tariff available for their needs, as one energy company after another announces drastic increases in the price of gas and electricity.

Confused.com has reported that, since the start of the year, customers who switched gas and electricity providers saved an average £296.23 each, illustrating that it pays to switch and not languish on the same expensive tariff.

With around 14,000 tariffs still on the market, consumers should check that they are on the right tariff for their usage, one that reflects their household's energy consumption.

Fixed rate tariffs, while initially sometimes more expensive than the cheapest deals available, can offer long-term security which can ease the pressure on stretched budgets.

"In some areas of the UK, up to 80% of the population is still using the host supplier and are therefore spending more money than they need to" said Gareth Kloet, head of utilities at Confused.com.

"Many people shy away from switching, as they think that it will be a difficult process," said, "but it is actually very simple. In fact, if you have not secured a competitive fixed rate, you should look to switch every six months - just switching to an online tariff and paying by direct debit could save £490 per year."

© Fair Investment Company Ltd