Plain English Campaign continue to fight for clearer information in energy bills. We were pleased to support the comparison website, www.uswitch.com, when they asked for our review of yearly energy statements. These statements are a regulatory requirement, laid down by Ofgem, for all energy providers to provide an individual statement to their customers that shows the customer's consumption and costs over the past 12 months. But the results of the uSwitch public survey show that some energy companies have been slow to meet this regulation, and those that are meeting it could do with improving the clarity of the statements.
You can see a news release from uSwitch.com that captures public opinion. Below is a summary our own plain English review from a selection of yearly energy statements that were available. Our overall recommendation is that there needs to be consistency in the information and the way it is presented so that the customer can make a true comparison between energy suppliers.
The main points a customer will need to know are:
- that this is a yearly statement
- what the start and end dates are, and
- how much money they owed or overpaid from the previous yearly statement.
They also need to know:
- how much gas and electricity have been used during the last 12 months
- which tariff rates apply
- how much money they paid during those 12 months
- how much money they owed or overpaid at the end of those 12 months, and
- what the new payments will be for the coming 12 months.