CMA makes switching easier for 700,000 UK energy customers

1 Sep 2017 10:06 AM

New CMA measures will help 700,000 restricted meter customers, including around 400,000 in Scotland, to switch without changing their meter.

This follows an extensive investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) into the energy sector, which found that around two thirds of restricted meter customers could save an average of £154 per year by switching energy tariff.

In the past, the cost and hassle of changing their meter could have proved a major barrier for many of these people to switch to a cheaper deal. However, the CMA’s new measures mean that restricted meter customers can now more easily access a wide range of different deals and rates.

The CMA is also demanding that suppliers offer:

  • reminders about switching, via bills,
  • contact details for Citizens Advice or Citizens Advice Scotland (as appropriate), and
  • further information to assist them with switching (eg their total consumption, their consumption levels by register, their meter type, their current tariff type).

To help people with restricted meters to get the best deal on their energy, the CMA has made the additional recommendation that Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland become recognised providers of information and support to these customers. Both agencies have now confirmed that they will implement this recommendation.

CMA Director of Remedies Susannah Meeke said:

We want to help as many people as possible to shop around for the best energy deal for them. But, many people on restricted meters have effectively been prevented from doing this because they would need to change their meter – which is both costly and a hassle.

Now they will be able to switch like any other energy customer – and potentially lower their bill by up to £154 a year.

We welcome the fact that Citizens Advice is now offering additional information and support for these customers to help them explore their options.

Notes for editors

  1. The CMA is the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority. It is an independent non-ministerial government department with responsibility for carrying out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries and enforcing competition and consumer law. For more information on the CMA see our homepage or follow us on Twitter @CMAgovuk, Flickr and LinkedIn.
  2. Restricted meters are those which apply different rates across different times of the day. Examples of affected energy customers include those with Economy 10 and THTC meters.
  3. Suppliers with fewer than 50,000 customers do not have to accept restricted meter customers, although they may choose to do so. A large majority of suppliers have more than 50,000 customers.
  4. Media enquiries should be directed to press@cma.gsi.gov.uk or call: 07774 134814