On the power play

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FOR too long, energy companies have held the upper hand with pricing policies that lack transparency – and unfathomable bills, where credits can appear to be debits and vice versa, that appear designed to confuse and to stymy competition, the principle that was at the core of the energy industry’s privatisation.

Yet, as many people shiver because they cannot afford to keep the heating on in their own home, it can only be hoped that The Big Switch, an internet-led initiative – backed by consumer organisation Which? and Ministers – enables households to group together in order to bulk buy the cheapest possible energy package.

It is a natural progression of the co-operative movement and provides consumers with power that they have not enjoyed since the relentless rise in energy prices – and no corresponding decreases to match falls in wholesale prices. And if sufficient households sign up to this pioneering initiative, it will provide a far more effective means of holding the Big Six suppliers to account than any empty promise by a politician. It is a switch that needs to be made.