It’s time to move away from the Big 6 energy providers
Over the course of the last week British Gas revealed a dramatic 31% increase in their annuals profits, which now stand at an eye-watering £574 million. British Gas attributed this huge growth to a 5% hike in gas usage over the course of winter,1this being despite the fact that our winter, especially throughout December, broke an array of records for being the warmest the country has ever seen. What makes the news all the harder to accept is the fact that wholesale energy prices are currently at incredible lows, in part due to the tumbling costs of oil and gas.3 Yet these savings are not being passed onto the consumer but are simply being piled on to the ever growing mountains of profit of companies such as British Gas.
That is not to say that British gas are the sole problem in this discussion. As the power to dictate the energy market not only lies with them but 5 other energy companies too, known as the Big 6; this elite club consists of EDF Energy, E.ON UK, Npower, Scottish Power, SSE and British Gas. This Big 6 have managed to get themselves into such positions of power that between them they can curate the prices consumers pay for their energy, regardless of whether they’re fair or not. A prime example of this unjust power being the surge in electricity prices seen in the UK in 2013, a hike that highly trusted consumer group Which? found no justification for whatsoever. The analysis found that such moves have cost UK consumers £2.9 billion over the course of the last year. Richard Lloyd, the execute director of Which? declared that ‘our analysis places a massive question mark over how suppliers have been setting prices over the last two years. They now need to explain to their customers why bills don’t fall further in response to dropping wholesale prices’.4
Such questionable figures and weighty statements are clearly beginning to rattle these energy powerhouses. They all have promised to bring about reductions in what they charge their customers for their energy. Interestingly, these price cuts have been declared after winter, traditionally the time energy use begins to drop, with SSE rolling out these reductions as late as 29th March.5What’s even more frustrating is that these reductions seem to be as minimal as possible, with reports indicating they will save the average UK household as little as £32 a year,6 an almost insulting figure when the Which? report suggests the Big 6 energy companies have been overcharging their customers by £145 a year.7 Ann Robinson, director of policy at Switch, dubbed these reductions as little more than a ‘token gesture’, whereas Martin Lewis, of Money Saving Expert, noted the cuts are ‘nothing close to the drop in wholesale prices and even went as far as saying
‘energy firms must be whooping for joy that they can get away with such small cuts and have the energy minister praising them’.8
When you take into consideration that these same companies are receiving record numbers of complaints9 and being accused of dodging the taxes they owe10 you begin to wonder whether there is something very wrong with the companies who are providing us with such a staple necessity like energy.
Frustrations at these endless injustices have begin to boil over into a initiatives such as The Big Switch, which encourages consumers to look to other energy providers, rather than feel that they have no choice but to be reliant on these companies that refuse to put the needs of the consumer first.
Hassle Free Boilers aim to be a part of this movement and offer the UK public a viable alternative to large boiler providers such as British Gas. Hassle Free Boilers are the first of a select group of boiler providers to bring affordable Pay Monthly Boiler Plans to the UK, whilst covering your whole heating system. We’re doing this because we know that boilers are not only a key part of your household, keeping your family warm and comfortable when temperatures fall, but also dictate how high your energy bills are. This is because boilers vary in efficiency, so much so that a boiler that is 10 years old or older can be as little as 60% efficient, meaning it unnecessarily inflates your energy bill by up to £570 every year.11 Whereas once there was nothing you could do about your old boiler without having to invest around £2,000 now, with Hassle Free Boilers, you can get a brand new boiler, fully installed and covered for 12 years, from as little as £19.99 a month, or £39.99 a month with no upfront cost.