Residents of Cheshire West and Chester are set to benefit from plans by the Coalition Government to simplify gas and electricity tariffs. Under proposals set out by Lib Dem Secretary of State for Energy, Ed Davey MP, energy firms will be forced to offer just four core tariffs for both gas and electricity.
The proposals will dramatically reduce the vast number of tariffs currently available – around 410. Energy firms will be forced to put customers on the cheapest tariff that meets their preferences.
The tariffs will include a fixed term and a standard variable rate, with two others based on criteria such as payment method or whether renewable energy was a factor. The Government is consulting on these plans until January 2013.
Currently 75% of consumers are on standard variable rate tariffs, which tend to be more expensive. Ofgem estimates that consumers can save an average of £72 and a possible maximum of £158 a year by switching to the cheapest deal in the market for their payment method.
Local campaigner Neil Christian said, "With the bewildering array of energy tariffs available, it is difficult for many people to compare what they are paying now with what is available from other suppliers. It is hard for them to know whether they are getting a good deal for their money on their gas and electricity bills. The new system will make it far easier to shop around for cheaper gas and electricity as it will be much easier to compare what is available. I welcome the action the Liberal Democrat Energy Minister is taking to tackle this issue and make energy bills fairer, cheaper and simpler for everyone".