'Postcode lottery' determines energy bills says Which?

18 March 2008 / by Rachael Stiles
How much householders pay for their gas and electricity can be determined by where they live, according to Which?

The costs of gas and electricity from npower, ScottishPower and Scottish and Southern Energy can vary in relation to how far it travels to get to a certain home, the research found, meaning that bills are subject to a 'postcode lottery' for households. British Gas has also not ruled out a regional pricing policy.

Domestic electricty has been subjected to pricing by distance for some time, but gas customers are now suffering the same treatment, as energy suppliers name the cost of piping and infrastructure for the new pricing system.

Combined with the massive hikes in energy prices recently, consumers are now finding themselves paying over the odds for their gas and electricity bills, breaking through the £1,000 a year mark.

Siobhan Parker, from Switch with Which? says: "The adoption of regional gas prices by some suppliers further emphasises price variations around the country.

"Npower has announced an average gas increase of 12.8 per cent, but customers living in regions such as London and the East Midlands are being hit with a much bigger price rise of 23.8 per cent. People must vote with their feet and seek out the best deal to combat the effects of what is ultimately a postcode lottery."

Considering that moving house to avoid high energy bills is somewhat drastic and probably more expensive, Which? recommends that households simply compare the other tariffs available if they are unhappy with theirs, and switch energy providers. Consumers can also save on their bills by opting for an online supplier, paperless billing and paying by Direct Debit to keep the cost down.

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