‘Big Six’ energy firms urged not to block a price cap on default energy tariffs

27th Feb 2018

The energy secretary Greg Clark and energy and clean growth minister Claire Perry have asked the largest UK utilities companies not to stop a price cap bill from passing through parliament.

The cap was proposed after extensive review by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy select committee. The committee also found that suppliers should only be allowed to appeal through a judicial review in order for the cap to be implemented quickly.

The level of the price cap is as yet unknown.

Capping energy prices has been a hotly debated subject for a number of years, as ministers have long believed that the energy market does not work for all customers.

Jo Causon, CEO of The Institute of Customer Service, says: “The fact is that many organisations providing essential services should reassess how they manage relationships with vulnerable customers in a way that is ethical, equitable and fair to all.”

She continues: “The energy companies have a shared need for transparency if they are to rebuild levels of trust that have disappeared in recent years and offer straightforward, seamless experiences as well as empathetic help and advice.”

In the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index, the utilities sector’s average score is 74.4. This is below the all-sector average score of 78.1.

Causon believes that introducing transparency measures, like a price cap, would improve energy firms’ customer satisfaction figures.

She says: “Our own research shows that customer service and reputation play a key role in why people switch, and who they switch to. One in three consumers said that the customer service they receive would prompt them to switch suppliers, while the same number said that the reputation of companies for looking after their customers well prompts decisions on who their new supplier will be.”

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