So, the strong (or not so strong) women in UK politics, Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon, are both trying to win more voter support by seeking to tackle unfairness in the energy sector. But are they going about it the best way? Is there are better alternative?

 

Fact: There is a massive lack of trust in current energy providers, particularly the so-called ‘Big Six’. Ofgem has found that no less than a whacking 43% of people don’t trust their energy supplier to act fairly[1]. In addition, Which? has found that Customer Satisfaction scores for the ‘Big Six’ stand at less than 50%[2]. That’s worse than the banking sector!

 

Fact: People are being ripped off currently. The large providers have kept the prices high, also when wholesale energy prices were falling. They lure people in on fixed tariffs, hoping that they won’t notice a massive increase as they are moved onto a Standard Variable Tariff later.[3]

 

Fact: Low income individuals and families are particularly hard hit, with a higher percentage of their earning being swallowed up by massive energy bills. Fuel poverty is a bigger problem in the UK than ever before. [4]

 

Fact: The current market is set up for shareholders, not for ordinary people!

 

So what is the solution? A cap on energy prices, as Theresa May wants? Ofgem has just come out with a statement (reported in on the BBC Online News) that that can’t happen just now, there will need to be new legislation to get this through. In other words, it won’t happen anytime soon. Her suggestion also only covers a section of the population, not everybody. It is good to ensure that the lower income individuals are protected, but it doesn’t change the fundamental skewed and unfair dynamics in the market. No doubt the big corporates will find ways of making the rest pay. All in all, a possible step forward, but too patchy a solution that still leaves plenty of scope for shareholders to get what they want, putting their needs before those of ordinary citizens.

 

Or do we need a publically owned company, as Nicola Sturgeon is suggesting for Scotland? Other organisations are pushing for this solution (e.g. We Own It, Switched On London). That would certainly alter the dynamic. But there are two issues with this approach: First, it would be the state owning it, not the people. And second, how confident are we in the government, Scottish or Westminster, being in charge of a resource that is essentially all of ours? How confident are we that they will manage the process and the money involved efficiently (a few massively overspent budgets in Scotland springs to mind… – dare I mention the Edinburgh tram?)? And how long is it going to take them to get set up? It is not as if the civil service is notoriously fast and efficient!

 

But perhaps the main and real question is this: Why do all this when a solution putting people first, offering lower prices and fairness, and giving people ownership already exists? What is the point? It is not necessary to spend inordinate amount of time and public money to fund alternatives when one exists. And an alternative that gives people, not the state, ownership at that.  An alternative where lean and agile business methods are applied to get the best deal for everybody, not a slow, cumbersome and bureaucratic process. An alternative that is already up and running, right now, and is simple to use – it only takes individuals 90 seconds to move away from the unfair large providers to a guaranteed better deal.

 

People’s Energy not only has prices that are lower than all of the Big Six. We also give 75% of the profits made back to customers, in an annual rebate. Meaning that they can always be sure to get the best deal. And they have a say. Why complicate things – why not just choosing the simplest solution, the one that is already there?

 

Join People’s Energy now by clicking here, or give us a call on 0131 285 5510.

 

[1] Ofgem report September 2015

[2] Which? customer score of the Big Six Customer Satisfaction Score combines: Customer service, Value for money, Bills (accuracy and clarity), Complaints handling and Helping to save energy – Which? Survey 2016

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jul/24/price-gap-between-best-and-worst-energy-tariffs-widens-to-109-on-average

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/dec/30/millions-families-living-fuel-poverty-england-statistics