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Published on February 22nd, 2013 | by Pete

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Ofgem Launch Simpler Tariff Plans

If you’re anything like me, you may be someone who can be easily confused. Aside from making life slightly more tricky at times, it can also mean that energy tariffs can be a confusing entity. Luckily, the fact that the tariffs offered by energy companies are about as clear as mud, has been noticed by people high up who can actually effect change. The energy police, Ofgem, who are responsible for managing how the energy firms run have reiterated their plans to implement ‘tough new standards of conduct’ to ensure that the energy market is much simpler, clearer and fairer.

Hurrah! So when is this coming into force I hear you ask? Well, we are led to believe that by the summer these changes will come into effect. The changes will involve a cap on the number of tariff options that can be offered by companies, so that consumers like us can actually make informed and logical decisions. Another important change that is scheduled, is the fact that energy suppliers will be forced to offer customers the lowest variable rate tariff by default, which is sure to save us a lot of money. Prime Minister David Cameron has also commented on the changes, describing this as ‘putting people before profits’.

Ofgem’s reforms will make energy suppliers:

• offer no more than four core tariffs for each fuel type (gas and electricity)
• present clearer bills showing the cheapest tariffs
• treat consumers more fairly or risk Ofgem fines

The good news is that these changes are not optional. If energy suppliers try and avoid complying with the changes, then the Government will use new legislation that will force them to do the things they should be doing. Of course, the energy companies claim they are already doing much better. Angela Knight, chief executive of Energy UK, which represents the major energy companies, said: “The energy companies have dramatically reduced the number of tariffs and pledged to help all customers move to the best deal that suits them. The concerns of customers and politicians have been heard loud and clear by the companies. Clear choices are here to stay, and switching is faster and easier than ever before. A look at suppliers’ websites shows how much work has already been done. The industry will be working closely with the regulator and with government on all the next stages of their reform programme.’

Energy prices can be a bit of a minefield, and it is easy to feel as if you are trapped in your current deal. Well, you are not, and there is help out there, in the form of the Energy helpline. Also, here at MoneySuperstar we have already given you some top tips on how to keep heating bills down, so that post is well worth reviewing. What kinds of things have you found helpful to keep your bills down? Have you had personal experience of changing tariffs or even suppliers? Let us know how you have found the process of switching…

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