New figures unearthed by Bristol Energy suggest that around 112,000 people in Bristol are being overcharged for energy by as much as £28 million.
Bristol has a population of 428,000 so more than 1 in 4 are paying too much.
The same figures are likely to apply to North Ayrshire, which has 136,000 people, meaning around 35,000 could be paying too much.
As the ‘Big Six’ British energy providers have an 85% market share, most people in North Ayrshire are likely to be either Scottish Power or SSE customers and around 70% are on a standard variable deal, a default tariff that kicks in once a fixed term deal comes to an end.
Bristol Energy is one of a handful of smaller suppliers calling for a price cap on expensive tariffs that customers default to once their fixed deal comes to an end. The company, which is the UK’s biggest publicly-owned energy supplier, could be a role-model for the not-for-profit energy provider that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP has pledged to set up in Scotland by 2021.
Patricia Gibson MP said:
“Two-thirds of customers have never switched energy suppliers and may be paying up to £300 a year more than those on the cheapest tariffs. As the cost of household energy bills now costs the poorest households 10% of their income rather than the 5.5% it was just over a decade ago, this is pushing more and more households into fuel poverty.
“The most long-standing and loyal customers and the most vulnerable are now paying the highest tariffs. Clearly, the time to consider switching is now; to find a better deal, rather than boost the profits of the ‘Big Six’ energy companies.
“At Westminster, I will continue to urge the UK Government to honour the promise it made during last June’s general election to cap energy bills”.
Peter Haigh, Managing Director of Bristol Energy added:
“Recent price rises are eye-watering and there are no excuses for it. The simplest way to save money this winter is to switch your energy provider and look for a fixed rate deal. Don’t let your energy company penalise you simply for being loyal.”