Since the privatisation of the energy industry, supplying gas and electricity to the homes of the United Kingdom has become a highly competitive and at times controversial addition to British business. Gone are the archaic days of State-owned gas and electricity boards. Consumers now have the option to choose who provides their energy.
This freedom of the market has however, bought challenges, and it is no-secret that some energy companies and aspects of the industry has been much-maligned in the media with increasing profits, providing poor customer service and the monopolistic control the ‘Big Six’ have had over the market.
The energy sector contributes over £28 billion to the British economy and with over 30 companies now operating within the market it is important that an industry of this magnitude is efficiently regulated.
Here at Economy Seven Energy, we understand our responsibility to our customers and we aim to be open and transparent at all times. With this in mind, here is a bit of honest information for you on how we as a supplier of your energy are regulated.
The energy industry is independently regulated by the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem). Free from government control, Ofgem was set up to protect the interests of customers and they do this by;
- Promoting value for money
- Promoting security of energy supply and sustainability
- Overseeing the development of the market and competition
- Regulation and the delivery of government schemes.
Free, independent and impartial, the energy ombudsman is the place to go if you have an unresolved complaint with your energy supplier. There are certain rules and processes that need to be followed and your supplier has to be given the opportunity to resolve any issues. Following investigations the ombudsman can make sure your energy supplier solves the problem, apologises to you and offers you a valid explanation. In some cases your energy supplier could be forced to make a financial reward if appropriate.
Retail Market Review – Simpler, Clearer, Fairer.
In 2010 Ofgem launched the Retail Market Review with the aim of creating a ‘simpler, clearer and fairer’ energy market for the UK. All energy companies must comply with the new initiatives as part of their licence and the industry has become much more transparent because of this.
A few years ago, energy companies could offer numerous complex tariffs, energy plans, variable discounts and special offers on energy prices. It was a mind-boggling and highly confusing industry for even the most switched-on. As part of making things simpler, suppliers are now limited to offering four tariffs with a single unit rate price structure and two discounts.
Energy bills have become much clearer since the RMR. Suppliers are now obligated to provide clear and concise information on your bills. This can include advising you of any cheaper tariffs you could switch to and clear annual consumption figures through the form of a Tariff Information Label. With all this information to hand it makes it much easier to switch suppliers.
The introduction of the Tariff Comparison Rate provides a personal projection for your cost of energy for the forthcoming 12 months. All suppliers must provide this information and it is a great way to get an indication of how your rates compare to other tariffs and suppliers.
It is fair to say that consumer confidence in the energy market is often quite low. As part of the RMR new practices have been implemented to help rebuild confidence. Your supplier must write to you 42-49 days before your energy plan comes to an end so you have the opportunity to switch suppliers or tariffs without being charged exit fees or being placed automatically on to a more expensive tariff.
Transferring your energy supplier is a much more straightforward process since the introduction of new regulations. You no longer obligated to inform your supplier of a move and it can take just 17 days to switch.
Regulation of the gas and electricity markets provides a positive step-forward for both customer and supplier. Accountability, simpler processes and clear and transparent information is beneficial to all. At Fischer Energy we are determined to meet all requirements and deliver the good practice you should expect from your energy supplier.