Energy bills shake up could save householders millions
Martin Lewis reveals how to save on energy bills during lockdown
The Government will this week set out proposals to stop loyal customers being ripped off. It is considering two options in a bid to make the marketplace more competitive. The first, “opt-in” switching, would see people offered a simple way to change to a cheaper tariff when their initial contract ends. Under the second option, “opt-out” switching, people will be moved automatically to a more competitive tariff unless they choose not to be.
A Whitehall source said: “This Government is revolutionising the way the UK powers its homes, buildings and industry – but we are also overhauling the system in favour of the consumer.
“We do not believe that energy companies should be able to roll over contracts indefinitely or punish long-standing, loyal customers.
“That’s why we’re going to make it even easier for people to switch to cheaper tariffs and drive down bills so they can keep more money in their back pocket.”
The plan to overhaul energy bills was welcomed by Hayden Wood, chief executive of renewable energy company Bulb.
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He said: “Bulb’s called for reforms to stop energy companies penalising loyal customers – so it’s great that the Government’s taking action. Millions of loyal households have paid hundreds of pounds over the odds this year through no fault of their own.
“You’d be shocked if your local coffee shop started charging you more because you’re a regular – it should be no different with energy companies. We want greater fairness and transparency in the energy market and this is an important step to getting there.”
Business Secretary Alok Sharma wants to “unleash a wave of competition” and end the so-called “loyalty penalty”.
In a further move, the Warm Home Discount Scheme, which knocks £140 off the electricity bills of eligible pensioners and low-income households, is expected to be extended to 2026 to cover an extra 750,000 homes. This will bring the number of eligible households up to nearly three million.
The latest measures come on the heels of the £2billion “green homes” grant scheme which was announced in September. It makes grants of up to £10,000 available to those on the lowest incomes to insulate their homes.
People in an older home with poor energy efficiency could save up to £500 by installing measures such as cavity wall insulation.
The plans will be part of a broader set of proposals in this week’s energy white paper to “clean up” Britain’s power supplies, boost green jobs and keep bills affordable as the country strives to get net carbon emissions to zero by 2050.
It is hoped that up to 220,000 high-skilled jobs will be supported across the UK through investment in offshore wind, clean hydrogen, carbon capture and storage and “advanced nuclear”.
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