UK energy regulator Ofgem (Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets) has confirmed new rules that mean energy suppliers must give consumers at least 30 days advance notice before putting up their prices. The changes come into effect on 28 April 2011. This means that suppliers have 30 days in which to put these changes into practice.
Currently energy suppliers have up to three months in which to notify consumers after putting up their prices. Ofgem’s changes mean that suppliers will have to give 30 days advance notice of any price increases. This new rule also applies to any changes to a contract which will leave the customer significantly worse off. Ofgem also recently reminded suppliers that when they write to each individual customer to inform them of such changes they must be able to explain how it will affect them specifically.
Andrew Wright, Ofgem’s senior partner for markets, says: “The changes will again show that we are serious about making sure suppliers play it straight with consumers. We believe that 30 days advance notification of price increases, coupled with our new proposals for more transparency and an end to complex tariffs, will give consumers more power to make informed switching choices.”
This reform builds on Ofgem’s recent proposals following its review into the retail energy market. Ofgem is overhauling the market to tackle poor supplier behaviour, sweep away confusing tariffs and break the stranglehold of the ‘big six’ on the energy market.