Over 90% of SSE and Utility Warehouse customers on expensive standard variable rate tariff

According to a new league table published by Ofgem, Utility Warehouse and Scottish and Southern Electricity (SSE) have the highest proportion of customers stuck on a standard variable tariff, with 94% of Utility Warehouse customers and 91% of SSE customers on a standard variable tariff. British Gas and E.On were next in line with 74% and 73% respectively, followed by Npower at 59% and EDF Energy at 56%.

The energy suppliers with the smallest proportion of customers on a standard tariff were Extra Energy with 14%, and and First Utility with 9%.

SSE’s 3,864,044 customers on a standard variable tariff customers pay on average £98 more per year than a customer on SSE’s cheapest tariff. At £1,068 per year, SSE’s standard variable tariff is £198 more expensive per year than the average of the cheapest tariffs from the 10 cheapest suppliers.

Utility Warehouse’s 503,955 customer’s on a standard variable tariff pay £150 compared to those on its cheapest tariff, and £143 more than the average of the 10 cheapest tariffs available across all suppliers.

Npowers standard variable customers paid the highest premium, with customers on the tariff paying £261 extra per year compared to those on the company’s cheapest tariff. Although 73% of E.On’s customers are on its standard variable tariff, those customers pay just £43 per year extra than those on its cheapest tariff – but still £187 more than the the average of the 10 cheapest tariffs available across all suppliers.

Extra Energy’s 36,641 standard variable customers paid the highest premium compared to the average of the 10 cheapest suppliers – £260 – closely followed by Co-operative Energy’s 96,158 customers on a standard variable tariff, who paid £252 more than the cheapest average tariff.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “This league table will lift the lid on the price difference between standard tariffs and cheaper deals, helping those customers who are currently paying over the odds for their gas and electricity identify a better rate. We’d also like to see energy companies do more off their own back to help customers who are on a low income, like moving them to a cheaper deal.”

The league table was published by Ofgem as part of its new measures to increase transparency around tariffs help more households benefit from the UK’s competitive energy market. It only compared suppliers with more than 250,000 customer accounts and excluded suppliers who have more than 90% of their customers on prepayment meters.

Supplier Number of customer accounts on standard variable tariffs Proportion of customer base on standard variable tariffs (%) Average annual cost of a standard variable tariff (£) Difference between a supplier’s standard variable tariff and its cheapest tariff (£) Difference between a standard variable tariff and the average of the cheapest tariffs from the 10 cheapest suppliers (£)
British Gas 6,639,056 74% 1,044 129 174
Co-operative Energy 96,158 42% 1,121 245 252
EDF Energy 1,943,277 56% 1,069 136 200
E.ON 3,170,499 73% 1,057 41 187
Extra Energy 36,641 14% 1,130 154 260
First Utility 74,581 9% 1,071 157 201
Npower 1,737,642 59% 1,077 261 208
Ovo 225,952 35% 1,064 67 194
Scottish Power 1,541,307 50% 1,081 129 211
SSE 3,864,044 91% 1,068 98 198
Utility Warehouse 503,955 94% 1,012 150 143

These figures represent a typical dual fuel customer paying by direct debit and with typical consumption. Prices correct as at 28 November 2016. The potential savings figures are only indicative.

At the same time, the government published a call for evidence on how to share customers’ data (with their consent), from a company system to a third party or price comparison website. The call for evidence is open until 10 February 2017.

Source: Ofgem

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