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Brits Urged To Switch Utility Supplier To Make Best Use Of Price Cuts

Aug 18, 2007
Consumers are still facing pressure on their finances from utility suppliers despite a number of price cuts, it has been suggested.

Findings released by uSwitch indicate that bills increased by some 38 per cent, or 277 pounds, over the course of 2006. However, following a 56 per cent decrease in wholesale energy prices so far this year, providers are only said to have implemented price cuts of up to 100 pounds. With just over three quarters (78 per cent) of consumers not making full use of more competitive deals offered by other providers, the price comparison website suggested that Britons may not receive the 177 pounds each (a total of more than 3 billion pounds) that they are still owed in reductions. Meanwhile, the firm also raised concerns that suppliers will use seasonal variations in wholesale prices as an excuse to stave off from making any more cuts, despite many energy companies being "well positioned" to do so.

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy for uSwitch, claimed that unless households fail to act then pressure on their finances could continue, which in turn may extend to increased difficulties in paying off loans and credit cards. She said: "The clock is ticking and consumers could see this window of opportunity slammed shut in their faces unless they continue to force the issue with suppliers. The price war kicked off because of consumer power - British Gas, the first supplier to cut prices, did so in response to losing over one million customers and then the other suppliers followed suit. Consumers now need to keep the pressure on and make competition work for themselves".

She added that the best way for consumers to reduce the pressure utility bills put on their finances is by "taking action themselves" and switching to a cheaper provider. "The benefits will be twofold while price cuts to date amount to 100 pounds, a consumer could save over 200 pounds by switching from their incumbent supplier to the cheapest dual fuel plan. But also, by voting with their feet, consumers may force suppliers to cut prices again", Ms Robinson suggested.

Overall, only one out of eight British households are reported to be on the cheapest energy deal being offered by suppliers. Meanwhile, 2.4 million households are losing out on about 174 million pounds every year by not paying their bills via direct debt, as 4.2 million miss out on 42 million pounds by not moving to a dual fuel tariff, uSwitch asserts. Findings from the price comparison website also indicated that 9.3 million consumers are still to change utility provider, with an estimated 69 per cent of the over-60s yet to do so.

In related news, figures released by MoneyExpert earlier this year revealed the proportion of consumers switching to more competitively-priced financial products has fallen. Currently, the number of people moving provider on areas such as secured loans was said to have decreased by 5.4 million from a similar survey conducted at the start of 2007. Overall, some 54 per cent of the Britons were reported to have not switched over the last six months - an increase of five per cent from research carried out during the last quarter.
About the Author
Tom Dawson writes for Essentially Home Loans. Our visitors can apply for secured loans online, for whatever reason with whatever credit history. Visit us today for the best rate loans available.
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