MPs shock revelation: switching utilities can mean higher prices

13 November 2008

What do our MPs focus their collective efforts on while the country is more absorbed in the politics of another continent? Stating the bleeding obvious, that's what. Yes, it's taken a committee of MPs to arrive at the conclusion that consumers aren't given enough good quality information to get the best deals their utility bills. [falls off chair in an unconvincing manner to mock shock, inadvertently hurts himself and immediately regrets been a smart-arse]

A report from the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee highlighted a recent survey that concluded a quarter of households who switched electricity suppliers ended up paying higher prices, and telecoms customers are likely to encounter similar problems. The report also warned that the poor and the elderly, who should benefit most from cheaper prices, were the most likely to have problems negotiating the system to find the best deal - a situation all too familiar to readers of Bitterwallet.

The committee's chairman Edward Leigh said: "Where price controls have been removed from a market, suppliers are under pressure to keep their prices as low as possible and their service as good as possible by the ability of consumers to switch suppliers easily and effectively.

"In practice, however, the removal of price controls from energy, telecoms and business postal services has failed to generate the expected market pressures to the benefit of all consumers.

"It is very telling that, according to a National Audit Office survey, a quarter of electricity consumers who had switched supplier ended up paying higher prices. Recent Ofgem research indicates the proportion might be even higher".

Well at least it won't come as a shock to the Government when thousands of people die in their own homes wearing a dozen cardigans, should we have a bad winter. Your sacrifices won't be in vain, people. You'll be helping MPs understand eaxctly how far removed they are from reality.

TOPICS:   Government   Utilities

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