Even power company staff are confused by their own tariffs

An undercover investigation has shown that many staff who work at energy companies do not know which their cheapest energy is offering. This is because of the complexity in a number of options available to consumers. The information has come out of the consumer body Which? after an investigation that involved calling several energy companies to get advice on which was the suppliers best deal.

The consumer group phoned up the energy providers and asked them which was their lowest cost option. One in three of the firms questioned did not offer the cheapest deal and gave advice which was not entirely accurate. The six largest energy providers in the UK have a huge number of different tariffs available – somewhere around 400. There are also a great many complexities offered with each of the tariffs such as cashback and bill free months.

Of all the companies investigated EDF energy and Southern Electric performed the worst. ScottishPower were the most helpful and told the caller the cheapest rate the majority of the time, however, they failed to mention that they have an exit fee of over £50.

Richard Lloyd who is a representative from Which? has commented, “During our investigation we found that the information staff gave was confusing, if not simply wrong. When a consumer phones an energy company they should be given the information they ask for, in this case the cheapest rate.

“For too many energy companies this information was simply not provided. With the increasing cost of fuel it is even more important that energy companies are clear with customers about the different pricing options.” Chris Huhne is the energy minister and he has recently held meetings with regulators and suppliers to try and find ways for customers to save money on their energy bills.