Ofgem faces 'Big Six' energy suppliers backlash over changes to tariffs

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Ofgem will push ahead with various reforms to the way in which energy firms present bills to their customers this week - despite renewed criticism from the 'Big Six' energy suppliers.

The energy regulator will plough ahead with proposals to shake-up the way in which energy tariffs are presented by suppliers - a move endorsed by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Under the planned proposals, the number of tariffs available for customers to choose from will be limited to four.

Other suggested changes include energy suppliers having to present bills in a much clearer fashion, showing exactly which tariffs are cheaper, and firms potentially being forced to inform their most vulnerable customers of the cheapest deal currently available, regardless of whether it is a deal from a rival supplier or its own.

The government is desperate to show it is taking tough action in the face of increased energy bills; its Green Deal, working alongside energy suppliers, is another way in which it is trying to counteract high energy bills by offering customers a subsidised rate on energy efficiency measures in the home, including things such as fitting or replacing new boilers, installing wall and loft insulation, or even fitting new solar panels to a home.

Three of the 'Big Six', npower, SSE and EDF Energy have been particularly vocal in their opposition to the planned changes.

Commenting on the proposals, npower said: "A snapshot forward-looking view of the cheapest tariff may well, in hindsight, turn out not to have been the cheapest."

SSE warned changes could damage trust between the consumer and supplier even further than the already strained relationships in place, while EDF added the changes could in fact "confuse consumers."

Other members of the Big Six have also cast doubts on the proposals.

Referring to one of the planned changes, British Gas said: "An obligation to advertise competitor prices goes well beyond what is reasonable in a competitive market."

Similarly, E.On added the proposals could lead to an: "Extraordinarily complex licence conditions and restriction on innovation."

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