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Taking control: the potential for policies to help consumers use less, waste less and pay less

23 October 2014

As geopolitical tensions rise, the energy market comes under investigation, and uptake of insulation measures plummets, Citizens Advice wants to understand why energy bills remain out of consumers’ control, and how barriers can be addressed.

Our review taking control found that there is plenty of opportunity (22 power stations worth according to the UK Government), and many households can act now, but both individual policies and the framework within which they sit tend to be incomplete.

We identify a vision for 21st century energy services that is affordable, accessible, safe and fair.

We transpose this into a practical framework for building consumer confidence, and then map the key strategic objectives that will start moving us from today’s incomplete framework to a supportive and coherent consumer offer. These objectives relate to a number of practical policy interventions and can be summarised as:

  • Tip the balance from barriers to benefits
  • Free advice makes society better
  • Make the links
  • Build trust
  • Raise standards, cut bills
  • Fair play for pre-pay
  • Benefits for all

We want to move from a subsidy-based mechanism to a confident marketplace that engages, encourages and enables consumers to take up energy- and bill-saving measures and behaviours, with government interventions focussed on those most in need.

Citizens Advice will play its part in this market, as an advice provider and consumer watchdog, and looks forward to working with industry and governments to help consumers use less, waste less, and pay less.