UK Energy Customers Fuel Bumper Profits in Price “Postcode Lottery”

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North-South divide across country revealed in energyhelpline.com quarterly price survey

Energy customers in the North of the UK are paying more for their gas and electricity bills than those in the South, according to a nationwide survey issued by energyhelpline.com today.

People in the most expensive part of the country are paying £60 more a year on a typical energy bill than those in the cheapest area because so many stay with the default energy supplier for their region.

And the independent energy price comparison service warned these consumers that they are helping major power companies, which are about to announce big profits this month, to make even more money.

Those in the Scottish Lowlands – covering Glasgow and Edinburgh – are paying the most with a typical gas and electricity bill costing £1,192.

People in Merseyside and North Wales are next on £1,186, followed by those in North West England on £1,169, West Midlands £1,165 and North East England on £1,161.

The cheapest area to live in is South Wales where the typical dual fuel bill is £1,132 and the cheapest area in England is in the south of the country.

The disparities are happening because suppliers are free to choose what price they charge in their home regions. These home regions can then become profit hot spots as loyal customers stick with the same supplier and are hit with much higher prices than they would find if they shopped around to compare energy prices.

However, by staying on a typical bill customers are missing out on savings of up to £343 a year by opting for a cheaper online monthly direct debit tariff.

Launching energyhelpline.com’s first Quarterly Price Survey (QPS), director Mark Todd said: “There is a distinct North-South divide on energy prices in the UK which is directly related to the fact that so many people decide to stay with the default energy supplier for their locality.

“Energy companies are charging people a range of different prices in the regions that they think will maximise their profits. There is no cost explanation for this lottery. For example, one of the most expensive regions is North Wales while the cheapest region in the UK is South Wales.

“It also appears that some of the areas where it is more expensive to transport energy are the cheapest and vice-versa.”

He added: “Whether through fear of the unknown, a misguided sense of loyalty or a lack of knowledge, consumers are missing out on hundreds of pounds of savings by not switching supplier.

“When it comes to domestic fuel, the “do-nothing” option is normally the “pay-more” option. Today’s energy market is competitive and fairly loosely regulated rather than a fair one. Unfortunately, in such a market, a company exists to serve you but also to make money from you.

“If you show no inkling to switch then companies are likely to make more profit from you and thus you end up paying more.”

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Mark Todd
Energyhelpline.com
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