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Price comparison websites must include deals from the whole market

28 February 2015

Citizens Advice has today called on Ofgem to make price comparison websites automatically show all of the deals available on the market.  

The call comes as the Energy and Climate Change Committee reiterates Citizens Advice’s recommendation that price comparison websites should default to a whole of the market comparison.  

Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:

“Shopping around can cushion the blow of high energy prices. Energy costs have soared over the last few years meaning it is really important cash-strapped households are able to easily switch to get the cheapest price.  Comparing prices using Ofgem’s Confidence Code accredited websites are the best way for energy customers to compare tariffs but only if they show all the deals available across the whole market.

“Citizens Advice has found that consumers aren’t always guaranteed they’ll get the best deal when they use a comparison website.  In some cases websites are limiting the choice on offer or push people towards deals that earn the company the best commission.

“The Energy and Climate Change Committee’s intervention on this matter is an important step towards making the energy market work for consumers.  By fully disclosing how their service works and their commission process, energy price comparison websites could lead the way in making this industry much more transparent.  It’s also really important that commission does not impact on the results people get and the prices they pay.

“Prepayment customers’ ability to shop around for a better deal barely exists. Most suppliers only offer one pay as you go tariff meaning choice is really limited. It’s time energy companies got to the bottom of this by providing a wider range of prepay tariffs.”

Notes to editors:

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  2. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  3. To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk. You can also get advice online at adviceguide.org.uk
  4. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
  5. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.3 million clients on 5.4 million problems from October 2013 to September 2014. For full 2013/2014  service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
  6. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.