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A personal shopping service for energy could transform an unfair market

31 Hydref 2013

31 October 2013

Responding to the Energy Secretary’s Annual Energy Statement, Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice said:

"The Government’s announcements today will make switching faster, but it also needs to be easier. The most radical thing in this statement is the potential to force energy companies to pass key data to third parties like switching sites.

“At Citizens Advice we want to see a personal shopping service for energy customers. Using energy data, customers could ask switching sites to compare their bills and find the cheapest deal.

“This avoids not only the lengthy process that the Government is trying to tackle with 24-hour switching but also the confusion surrounding complicated bills and tariffs that too often deters customers from tackling their high bills.

“A personal shopping service could also regularly review tariffs and move customers when cheaper deals come up.  It would effectively put the consumer in cruise control, switching to the cheapest deal every month, for life.

"For many people, energy bills are completely unaffordable. Since energy firms announced the latest sky-high price rise earlier this month, more than 40,000 people have visited the Citizens Advice website for support on energy costs. We still urgently need radical and fundamental reform of our energy market. Increased transparency about usage and sharing valuable data is a positive step towards putting consumers first. If used properly this measure will open up opportunities for more innovation.”

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 You can also get advice online at
  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.