UK

Energy statements are 'too confusing' for customers

Image caption Gas bills can confuse customers, Consumer Focus says

New annual energy statements are likely to confuse the customers of some gas and electricity suppliers, the campaign group Consumer Focus has warned.

Companies were ordered by the regulator Ofgem to send a statement to every customer, with information about their energy use and how to switch suppliers.

Consumer Focus says that in the worst cases the statements look like bills.

The Energy Retail Association, which represents suppliers, says the statements are "a work in progress".

Consumer Focus says it is disappointed with the way some companies have responded to this new regulation, which came into force at the start of last month.

It says in the worst cases the statements look like bills, use confusing language and do not make it clear how to change suppliers.

Improvements sought

Consumer Focus does praise British Gas for the clear, customer-friendly language of its annual statement, but the efforts of two suppliers - SSE and Npower - are classed as "poor".

The regulator Ofgem agrees with Consumer Focus that some companies may be following the new guidelines to the letter, but not adopting the spirit in which they were intended. It is asking for improvements.

The Energy Retail Association, which represents suppliers, says the statements are "a work in progress" and the companies welcome the feedback.

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