The people of the North East have been paying too much for their gas and electricity.
We carried out local surveys which showed that households in the North East are paying around £300 a year too much for their gas and electricity. More and more households are in fuel poverty and find it difficult to pay their bills.
We think this isn’t fair. We want customers in the North East to save on their energy bills. That’s why we’ll offer low prices with fair and transparent billing.
An inquiry by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that energy suppliers were charging loyal customers much more each year than new customers. This is because, after your fixed rate runs out, you’re put onto a standard tariff, which is higher.
95% of dual-fuel customers of the “Big-Six” energy suppliers (Npower, British Gas, SSE, Scottish Power, E.ON and EDF) could have saved up to £234 a year by switching. These suppliers earn 12% more from a customer on a standard dual fuel tariff instead of a fixed one.
Almost half of UK households have been with the same supplier for over 10 years. That’s why the Government have launched their “Power to Switch” campaign, to encourage customers to shop around to find cheaper energy deals.
We promise that our standard prices for gas and electricity will always be comparable to the best prices on the market. We will review our prices twice a year and if we can make savings in our costs we promise to pass these savings on to all of our customers.
Plus, if you pay by direct debit, manage your account online and send us regular meter readings, this means we won’t need to cut down trees for paper to send you bills and reminders.
A “vulnerable” customer is someone who may need extra help to pay their energy bills or understand their usage. This could be someone who is elderly, disabled, on a low income or has another need.
None of the “Big Six” energy companies have credible policies to support vulnerable customers, particularly those paying by pre-payment. Our simple, no-nonsense policies will make it easier for vulnerable customers and their carers to understand energy bills and improve energy efficiency, while still meeting their needs.
We’ll have a “Priority Service Register” with details of all our customers who may be considered vulnerable. If you join us and feel that you should be added to this list, please let us know when you sign up.
Other energy suppliers (even the big ones) have limited resources to read meters. Some households may see a 2 year gap between meter readings! Estimated bills can result in high credits or debits building up. Some customers can underestimate their direct debits and end up in high levels of debt.
We’ll encourage all of our customers to manage their account online and submit a monthly meter reading. If you’re not able to do this yourself, we will we make sure you get a visit from a meter reader every three months.
Eventually, the roll-out of smart meters will put an end to estimated billing, putting you fully in control of your energy use.
Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters, to replace existing “dumb” meters. They send information direct to your energy supplier using wireless technology. This means no one has to read your meter and you don’t need to send meter reads yourself!
They’ll record how much energy you’ve used and when, and an In-Home Display (IHD) will show you this in cost (£/p) as well as units (kW/kWh). This will put an end to estimated bills, so no more overpaying or underpaying for your energy. Being able to see exactly what you use should help you to save money, and not only that, by using less energy you’ll reduce your carbon emissions and help the environment!
At the moment, more than 80% of calls to energy supplier call centres are about problems with billing. This will no longer be the case, so you’ll see faster support on other issues. You’ll be able to easily switch tariff or between pay-as-you-go and direct debit without having your meter changed, and there are flexible payment options for prepayment customers, including remote top-up facilities.
If you’ve got solar panels or another renewable energy generating system, a smart meter can measure how much energy you produce and tell you if there is a surplus which you could sell back to the grid.
You can still switch energy supplier, and if the new supplier does not yet support the smart technology, your smart meter will simply revert to ‘dumb’ mode.
All customers are to be offered smart meters for free under the national upgrade programme, with plans for every home in Great Britain to have one by 2020. We plan to begin our roll out of smart meters to all of our customers in Autumn 2017.
If you’d like to find out more about smart meters, just visit Smart Energy GB.