The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has backed Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne in calling on consumers to punish the big energy companies by shopping around for cheaper alternatives.
Speaking after the decision of Scottish Power to raise its gas prices by 19% and electricity tariffs by 10%, adding 48p a day, or £175 a year, to the average daily combined gas and electricity bill of its 2.4 million customers, Mr. Black called for the power of the big six energy companies to be curtailed.
"There is no doubt in my mind that consumers should hit back by shopping for cheaper alternatives", said Mr. Black. "That is something that is actually quite easy to do. The problem is that very few people do it. Only about one in six ever switch suppliers. If people want to do that then they should start at the Energy helpline website at http://www.energyhelpline.com/fri/fri/domesticenergy/Domestic
"The last time I shopped around I managed to almost halve my energy bills with the same supplier. That was a real shock and underlines how these companies are ripping off their customers by not automatically giving them the best deal.
"I am pleased that Ministers are thinking about seeking powers to force companies to reveal to every customer on their bills whether they are on the cheapest tariff. The really big scandal though is the near-Oligopoly operated by the big six power companies. That is why I also welcome the fact that further measures to address a lack of competition in the market are expected to be announced by energy regulator Ofgem. This abuse of economic power has gone on too long and needs to be curtailed."
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