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We are now showing the latest reports from Ofgem. Ofgem, (Office for Gas and Electricity Markets) are the governing body for the energy industry!.

This is their latest report:

Comparison sites now the main way savvy shoppers switch

Publication date

29th September 2014
Information type

Policy area

  • 31% of switchers used a comparison service when they last changed energy company, up from 26% in 2013
  • Watchdog Ofgem is proposing changes to its Confidence Code to strengthen consumer protection and get even more comparison sites to sign up
  • There’s more help on the Be An Energy Shopper website, so consumers can use comparison sites with confidence and save up to £200 on energy bills

More consumers than ever are using comparison sites to shop around for their gas and electricity. Recent research from Ofgem  shows that 31% of switchers used a comparison service to make the change last time, up from 26% in 2013.  This now beats phoning suppliers directly as the main method customers used when they made their last switch.

Recognising the increasing use of comparison services, Ofgem is proposing some changes to the Confidence Code scheme. Plans include updating the rules so that more comparison sites can apply, and bolstering the consumer protection measures that the Code requires of its members.  Those who make the grade are allowed to display the Confidence Code badge, which tells consumers that they can trust the site’s advice.

Eleven comparison sites are now covered by the Code, including some big household names.  The most recent member is Runpath Digital, which powers the personal finance website lovemoney.com alongside other price comparison services.  All the accredited sites are listed on the Energy Advisory Service UK * alongside free independent advice on how to compare energy tariffs and get a better deal on gas and electricity bills.

Rachel Fletcher, Ofgem senior partner and Be An Energy Shopper spokesperson, said: “Price comparison sites are a great tool to use when energy shopping and it’s good to see more consumers using them. However, consumers quite rightly want to know that recommendations are trustworthy and the Confidence Code badge is a quick and easy way to check that the information is independent, accurate and reliable.”

“There’s a full list of accredited comparison sites on the Be An Energy Shopper website, which also gives clear guidance on how to start shopping around for gas and electricity.  There are potential savings of £200 to be made, just by switching to a better deal, so it’s well worth taking a look.”

Top ways that savvy shoppers switch:

  1. Comparison sites (31%)
  2. Calling up the supplier directly (27%)

– ENDS –

Notes to Editors

The Confidence Code

The Confidence Code is a voluntary code of practice for independent energy price comparison sites.  Ofgem took over responsibility for managing it from Consumer Focus in March 2013 and committed to review it in 2014.

The Confidence Code insists that its members follow key principles for how they must operate their service.  So using a site with the Confidence Code logo means that the process of comparing energy tariffs should be easier, more reliable and reassuring for consumers.

For more information on the requirements the accredited sites must follow see the Confidence Code – Code of Practice.

What changes is Ofgem proposing to make to the Confidence Code?

There are two key changes:

  1. Being accredited to the Code means that sites have to allow consumers to compare all available tariffs across the market, regardless of whether they receive commission from the supplier or not. We want to strengthen this requirement to ensure that consumers are aware of, and can easily access, a whole of market comparison. In addition, we want the sites to be more transparent about their commission arrangements with suppliers and make sure that consumers understand the impact these have on the results they will see. This will help maintain high levels of consumer confidence in the information the sites provide are maintained.
  2. Many comparison sites cannot currently become accredited because the Code states that they must maintain their own tariff database and price calculator to gain accreditation. This can be costly for sites to administer. As consumers are primarily interested in the accuracy and reliability of results, rather than the source of the information, we intend to remove this restriction. This will allow more sites to become accredited. All accredited sites will need to continue to be regularly audited to make sure they meet the high standards we expect.
Research

Ofgem’s 2014 customer engagement tracking survey was conducted by Ipsos MORI in the period 7-17 March 2014. It was a face-to-face quota survey, weighted to be representative of all adults in Great Britain aged 15+. Most figures are based on interviews with 1,227 gas consumers and 1,383 electricity consumers.

Be An Energy Shopper

The Be An Energy Shopper campaign was launched by Ofgem in response to consumer demand for impartial advice on how to compare tariffs in the gas and electricity markets.  An easy guide has been set up to show how recent changes to the energy market can help consumers to compare tariffs and get a better deal on their gas and electricity bills.

The website includes:

  • New tools to help people compare the different tariffs
  • A glossary explaining the language used on bills
  • Links to other useful sites, including comparison services accredited to Ofgem’s confidence code
  • A step-by-step guide that visitors can download and keep, or to give to friends and relatives without internet access.

About Ofgem

Ofgem is the GB energy regulator. Everything we do is aimed at making a positive difference for consumers.

* This link has been amended to show our own links to the accredited comparison sites

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