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Energy Bill Payers Stretched to Limit but Taking Action

CHESTER, England, October 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

  • More than half of Brits said SSE price hike made them think about switching
  • A third say a rise in monthly outgoings of £50 or less would push them to financial breaking point

British bill payers have been sparked into action to combat the rising cost of energy.  Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) threw down the gauntlet in August, being the first of the 'Big Six' to hike its gas and electricity prices and with speculation there may be price rises from other providers, people are fighting back, says MoneySupermarket.com.

Britain's number one comparison site conducted a poll of almost 1,700 site users on their reaction to the price hike. Over half (52 per cent) said they would look to switch to a cheaper energy tariff. Of those, 28 per cent had already applied for a new tariff, 11 per cent planned to do so within a week, while another 13 per cent said they would switch providers at some point. Typical savings by using MoneySupermarket to change energy products is £200 - a tidy sum, especially as a tenth of those polled said they aren't tempted to switch to a cheaper deal as they don't think the savings are worth it.

Scott Byrom, Energy channel manager at MoneySupermarket.com  said: "It's a bleak outlook for those already stretched to their affordability tipping point by rising household bills. SSE is the only provider to show its hand so far, but unfortunately a round of price hikes now would mean bills increase just in time for the more costly winter months when energy usage is at its highest. Worryingly over a third of the UK adult population (36 per cent) believe a rise in monthly outgoings of £50 or less would push them to financial breaking point. Of these, one in five say they are now sitting on the brink, finding it impossible to meet their monthly bills and costs**. The recent increases to energy bills are certainly going to push some people very close to the limit of what they can afford.

"Anyone hoping to keep their energy bills low in a turbulent energy market should opt for the best value fixed price tariff, currently offered by OVO Energy. Its New Energy Plan product costs £1,088 a year on average with prices fixed for 12 months from your start date. This tariff isn't available in the Scottish Hydro region however, the cheapest provider in this region is SSE. Its Fixed Discount tariff costs £1,149.71 on average with prices fixed until April 2014. While we have not yet hit winter in earnest, the longer, colder nights are certainly drawing in so customers languishing on their provider's standard tariff should act now to ensure they switch onto the best deal in time."

Notes to Editors:

Average, standard and fixed tariffs:

                    Average                                                      Saving
                   Standard                                                     Fixed vs
      Provider      Tariff          Online Tariffs       Fixed Tariff           Standard

    British Gas    GBP1,240.07      GBP1,120.29          GBP1,299.10          -GBP59.03
                                    Online Variable       Fixed Price
                                      August 2013           May 2014

    EDF Energy     GBP1,202.38      N/A                  GBP1,143.34           GBP59.04
                                                       Blue+ Price Promise 
                                                            May 2014 
    E.ON           GBP1,222.65      GBP1,123.71          GBP1,158.74           GBP63.91
                                    Energy Discount       Fixed 1 Year

    npower         GBP1,243.48      GBP1,071.71          GBP1,157.00           GBP171.77
                                     Energy Online           Go Fix
                                      January 2014        January 2014
    Power          GBP1,349.42             N/A           GBP1,139.98           GBP209.44
                                                       Online Fixed Price
                                                       Energy (April 2014)

    SSE            GBP1,354.20             N/A           GBP1,262.20           GBP92.00
                     (wef                                Fixed Discount
                   15.10.2012)                            December 2014

    First Utility  N/A               GBP1,127.92         N/A                   -
                                       iSave v11

    OVO Energy     N/A                                   GBP1,088.00           -
                                                        New energy fixed
                                                    (not available in
                                                     Scottish Hydro region)

    Average       GBP1,251.60        GBP1,110.91         GBP1,181.89           GBP89.52

Sourced by http://www.moneysupermarket.com 09.10.2012

* Will the latest energy price hike prompt you to switch to a cheaper deal?

Yes - I have already applied for a new tariff - 27.7%

Yes - I plan to do so in the next week - 11.2%

Yes - I will at some point - 12.6%

No - I'm tied in to my current tariff - 22.1%

No - It's too much hassle - 9.3%

No - The savings aren't worth it - 10.2%

I don't know - 6.9%

Total votes: 1685

** Research conducted by Opinium Research between 13th - 16th July 2012 amongst 2,011 nationally representative adults aged 18+.

Price rises announced by UK energy companies Summer 2011

                                 Electricity Average
                    Gas increase increase    Standard    Date       Date
    Provider        (%)          (%)         tariff      announced  effective
    Scottish Power  19           10          GBP1,391.21 07/06/2011 01/08/2011
    British Gas     18           16          GBP1,286.04 08/07/2011 18/08/2011
    Scottish and
    Southern        18           11          GBP1,265.00 21/07/2011 14/09/2011
    E.ON            18           11.4        GBP1,254.55 05/08/2011 13/09/2011
    npower          16           7.2         GBP1,289.00 16/08/2011 01/10/2011
    EDF Energy      15.4         4.5         GBP1,241.00 15/09/2011 10/11/2011
    Average         17.4         10          GBP1,287.80

Price decreases announced by UK energy companies January 2012

                      Gas     Electricity   Average
                    decrease   decrease    Standard     Date
       Provider       (%)         (%)       tariff    announced Date effective
    British Gas       N/A         5%      GBP1,260.56  January   Immediately
    EDF Energy         5%         N/A     GBP1,202.38  January   7th February
    E.ON              N/A         6%      GBP1,222.65  January  27th February
    npower             5%         N/A     GBP1,243.48  January   1st February
    Scottish and                                        12th
    Southern          4.5%        N/A     GBP1,229.95  January    26th March
    Scottish Power                        GBP1,391.21
    Average           4.8%       5.5%     GBP1,258.37

Price rises announced by UK energy companies Summer 2012

               Gas increase  Electricity    Standard    Date       Date
    Provider   (%)           increase (%)   tariff      announced  effective
    SSE        9             9              GBP1,354.20 22/08/2012 15/10/2012
    Average    9             9              GBP1,354.20

MoneySupermarket.com compares (at 30th Aug 2012)

  • 107 car insurance providers and 82 home insurance providers
  • 12 broadband providers and 18 energy providers   
  • 32 unsecured loan and 6 secured loan providers
  • 62 mortgage lenders and 28 credit card providers
  • 66 savings providers and 37 current account providers.
  • Over 1,200,000 mobile phone deals

Our customers

We help our customers to save money on all of their household bills by providing a free, easy to use online service so they can compare a wide range of products in one place and find the product most suited to their needs. Our size means we are able to offer our customers exclusive, market-leading deals, including some they can't even get direct from providers.

Our providers

By having considerable volumes of informed customers actively looking for products and ready to purchase, we offer our providers an efficient and cost effective customer acquisition solution across all of our channels. This enables our providers to target their marketing spend in an effective and completely measurable way.

Our revenue comes predominantly from fees paid to us by product providers when a customer clicks through to their website and actually applies for or purchases a product. It is a success based marketing fee.

Our customer commitment

  • We make it easy to find the brands you expect to see
  • We strive to ensure a product cannot be found cheaper by going direct
  • We let you remain in control of your personal data
  • We are independent and impartial
  • We make it easy to switch and save
  • We strive to always show the most competitive product available

For further information, please contact: 
Paul Lawler / Kate Murphy, +44(0)787-237-9545 / +44(0)1244-221978, [email protected]  / [email protected]

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