Despite it now being compulsory for energy suppliers to send households annual energy statements uSwitch.com has reported that more than half the UK’s households are without one.
Ofgem has been warned that energy suppliers are failing to deliver annual energy statements to customers. Suppliers had until December 1, 2010 to provide customers with their first annual statement, detailing their current energy plan, yearly consumption and how much they can expect to pay for their energy over the next year. But according to uSwitch, just 37 per cent of households claim to have received an annual energy statement.
Another 56 per cent (almost 15 million households) have either not received an annual statement from their energy supplier or have failed to recognise that they have had one.
The news comes as energy providers are already under fire for rising central heating costs. The annual statements are supposed to boost the competitive market by helping consumers to switch to better energy deals, yet just 23 per cent of recipients say this information was included on their annual statement and was easy to find.
Annual energy statements are also designed to offer customers information on their current energy plan, their yearly consumption and how much they can expect to pay for their energy over the next year.
As part of the new research, uSwitch asked how annual energy statements could be improve. Not surprisingly, they found most consumers wanted information that would help them reduce their bills. Over half of those questioned, at 64 per cent, would like to see a table of all the current tariffs offered by their supplier and the annual cost, 56 per cent would like details of any discounts, such as direct debit discounts, and 46 per cent would like details of any grants available from their supplier and the eligibility criteria.
Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, said: “Annual statements are a linchpin of Ofgem’s push to get the competitive energy market working properly, but consumers clearly don’t think they are coming up to scratch. The vast majority of households will have received an annual statement by now, but only 37 per cent recognise that they have done so. The statements appear to be poorly labelled, difficult to understand and do not stand out from ordinary energy bills. As far as consumers are concerned, annual statements as they currently stand are not fit for purpose.”