The Big Deal press release – 9 May 2017

The Big Deal: “Energy price cap is hugely welcome and great news for families who have been exploited by the Big Six for far too long.”

Collective energy switching site the Big Deal welcomes the news that the Conservative Party Manifesto proposes a price cap that will cut energy bills by £100. No other switching site has backed a price cap. The two largest energy switching sites – uSwitch and Moneysupermarket who operate 80% of the switching market – have attacked a price cap claiming it will do “more harm than good” and be a “disaster”.

Will Hodson, co-founder of the Big Deal, said:

“An energy price cap is hugely welcome and great news for families who have been exploited by the Big Six for far too long.

These huge companies make hundreds of millions of pounds in profit not because they are cost efficient or provide a great service but simply because they inherited millions of customers after privatisation and milk them for as much money as possible. It’s a disgrace and must stop.”

BIG SIX PROFIT WHILE MILLIONS SIT ON THEIR WORST DEALS

Supplier No of residential accounts (No of households) Profit (parent company profit in brackets) Percentage of customers on priciest “standard” tariff
E.on 7.3m (4.6m) £267m (£5.4bn) 75%
EDF 5.3m (3.4m) £664m (£900m) 58%
SSE 8.1m £399m (£1.51bn) 88%
British Gas 14.1m (8m) £574m (£1.46bn) 70%
nPower 5.1m (3m) £67m** (£3.4bn) 65%
Scottish Power 5.2m (3.2m) £583m

(£2.14bn)

48%

** Profits for first half of year

NOTES TO EDITORS

Price comparison sites say a cap will damage competition:

Richard Neudegg of biggest energy price comparison site uSwitch said:

“A price cap would be the death knell for competition. It would remove any incentive for energy companies to drive down prices and fight to keep their customers, entrenching the position of the incumbent big six. It would create a false sense of security for consumers on poor value SVTs, reducing the chance of them seeking a cheaper deal.” (https://www.uswitch.com/media-centre/2017/04/uswitch-comments-on-reports-of-energy-price-cap-pledge-in-conservative-manifesto/).

Stephen Murray of MoneySupermarket, said:

“For customers who have the ability to switch – majority outside the most vulnerable – an energy price cap would be a disaster.” (http://www.cityam.com/264080/conservative-plans-energy-cap-could-cost-consumers-upwards)

The evidence shows competition will not be affected – switching rates lower now than when energy price caps were in place around the turn of the century

Citizens Advice states:

“The evidence does not show a clear link between switching rates in the energy market and the savings you can make from switching. In fact, as the chart below shows, switching rates in Britain seem to be lower now than when energy price caps were in place around the turn of the century. And switching rates have fallen in recent years even as the savings from switching have risen.” https://wearecitizensadvice.org.uk/capping-energy-bills-wont-kill-competition-9b55dd8213d7

“The chart makes a simple point: switching rates were the same or even higher when energy prices were subject to caps. Both British Gas, as the former national gas monopoly, and the former regional monopoly electricity boards, were subject to price regulation that restricted how much they could charge their customers. The cap on electricity direct debit prices was removed in April 2000, with the other price caps removed in April 2002. Yet at the time, around 300,000 and 400,000 people were switching gas and electricity each month respectively, compared to around 280,000 and 370,000 now.” (https://wearecitizensadvice.org.uk/power-to-the-people-cutting-energy-prices-ce399cd05ff)

There’s price regulation in Northern Ireland and switching rates are the same as in Britain

Citizens Advice states:

“In one part of the UK, energy prices are still regulated – Northern Ireland. The largest electricity supplier there, Power NI, has a ~60% share of the market. Because of this dominance, its prices and profits are regulated. But price regulation doesn’t appear to be dampening consumers willingness to shop around. In 2016 the electricity switching rates in Northern Ireland and Great Britain were identical, both at 15.8%.”

About The Big Deal

TheBigDeal.com is a consumer collective focused on reducing people’s energy bills. We bring together tens of thousands of consumers and use our collective buying power to create exclusive deals.

Launched in March 2014, we now have over 300,000 members and continue to grow. 62% of our members have never or hardly ever switched before – these are the very people who have been let down by the energy market for too long. Moreover, 60% of our members are over the age of 55 and 30% over the age of 65. We have saved the British public over £15 million since we launched.
TheBigDeal.com is a start-up business and charges a commission to energy companies. Unlike price comparison websites we are 100% transparent and publish the exact amount of our commission. For our most recent switch it was £50 for a dual fuel (both gas and electricity) switch. This compares to £60 to £100 for the main price comparison websites.


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