Simplified energy tariffs still confusing claims Which?

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The new simplified energy tariffs are still too confusing for many customers according to Which?

Despite a host of changes to the layout and structure of energy bills, a survey from the consumer watchdog highlighted many people were still not picking the cheapest available deal: only 35% of the 500 participants actually picked the lowest price option.

Although the changes in bill format will not appear until April 1, energy suppliers already have to advertise using two simple rates: a flat-rate standing charge and a unit rate. These new rates are already used on price comparison sites however.

Unfortunately for the consumer, the survey found confusion kicked in once they had to work out the cheapest rate on the newly designed energy bills - with half of the consumers using calculators still unable to figure out the best deal.

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said: "In spite of Ofgem's tariff reforms to simplify the market, consumers are still failing to spot the cheapest deal because energy pricing remains too complicated.

To help simplify proceedings Ofgem will bring in a Tariff Comparison Rate (TCR) on energy bills from April. This will give billpayers a clearer way to compare their energy bills with prices from other energy suppliers.

Which? highlighted the fact TCR will be based on a medium energy user however, so not entirely accurate.

Despite the criticism from Which? Ofgem believes the switch will help make the market a lot simpler.

Ofgem Consumer Partner, Philip Cullum, said: "We are confident that our reform package will make the market simpler, clearer, and fairer for consumers, and make it much easier for them to choose the right deal."

In an interview with BBC news, Alun Rees from Energy UK - The UK representative of the energy industry - defended the number of tariffs:

He said: "People like different things: One customer might want to fix their prices for a certain time to protect themselves against future rises... some might want to pay less at night to save money."

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