Online energy tariffs could save households £1.69billion a year

03 June 2009 / by Rachael Stiles
UK households are overpaying on their energy bills because they have not compared the online tariffs available, new research from uSwitch has found.

The 1.3 million bill payers who are already on an online energy plan account for around five per cent of UK households, according to the latest figures from Ofgem, the industry regulator, which means that 95 per cent could be paying too much for their gas and electricity.

uSwitch deems online energy tariffs as offering the best energy prices on the market.

The price comparison website calculates that online energy plans can be as much as £344 a year cheaper than a supplier's standard plan, and can save each household an average £185 a year.

Last year's hikes in gas and electricity prices, which saw them rise by around 40 per cent, make it even more important to compare online energy plans, uSwitch says, because the subsequent price cuts this year have only seen them fall back by an average 3.7 per cent.

The average annual household energy bill is now £1,245, but going online could bring this down to little more than £1,000, uSwitch suggests.

But despite the savings to be made online, however, uSwitch has found that 12.5 million households are still on their energy supplier's standard plan.

"This is not about lack of competition - this is about consumers failing to take advantage" of what is available to them, says Will Marples, energy expert at uSwitch.com.

"Whether it's down to lack of understanding, poor communication or apathy, there is absolutely no reason for large numbers of consumers to be overpaying for their household energy.

"Online energy plans are where suppliers are offering their lowest prices - if households are not taking advantage then they will be losing out," he warned.

Mr Marples suggests a few steps that consumers can take to reduce the cost of their household energy bills, such as moving to dual fuel, paying by direct debit, which also helps to spread the cost, and moving to an online energy plan.

"Don't be put off by the fact that it is called an online plan," he added, as some suppliers require customers to sign up online, but then the account can be run as usual. "There really is an online energy plan to suit everyone," he finished.

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