Small energy suppliers worry about online comparison

Small energy online comparison
1 June 2016

Yesterday, we told you about small energy suppliers offering the cheapest tariffs.

We also suggested that you may not have heard of them, thanks to the smaller companies not having the advertising clout, and also, that they're might be getting buried by price comparison sites, who favour the bigger businesses who can pay for sponsorship.

Well, the independent energy companies have spoken up, and said that they want consumers to be able to see every available tariff on comparison sites, rather than just some.

They're worried, because there's some new rules that have been proposed by the Competition and Markets Authority. Basically, in a bid to get people switching more readily, the CMA have (mystifyingly) said that price comparison websites such as Uswitch, GoCompare, and the rest, should no longer have to show all available energy offers.

Seeing as some energy companies pay these sites a commission, which isn't always clearly shown, this could see a number of smaller providers missing out.

By being able to instantly switch through these sites (which is looking like being very much a thing soon), the CMA think that it'll drive down prices for the Big Six.

However, the smaller companies aren't convinced.

"We are deeply worried about the lack of transparency in the proposed system," according to a letter to the Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, signed by the chief executives of GB Energy Supply, COOP Energy, Go Effortless Energy, Bulb, So Energy & Zog Energy.

"Millions of people go to price comparison websites believing them to be transparent shop windows for the cheapest prices rather than 'brokers' in an increasingly skewed market."

Price comparison website, uSwitch, aren't having it.

"Price comparison websites offer a cost-effective way for energy suppliers to advertise their products and acquire customers," said a spokesperson. "The CMA's package of proposals will incentivise sites to compete for exclusive deals with suppliers, boost competition and lower energy prices for consumers."

Either way, nothing is set in stone yet, and the CMA will publish their final recommendations for the energy sector at some point in June.

TOPICS:   Utilities

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