Energy firms in ‘best deals’ pledge

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Hard-pressed families stand to save up to £100 a year under an agreement to ensure the UK’s biggest energy suppliers are offering customers the best deal.

The “big six” utility companies have agreed with the Government to write to customers at least once a year to help them identify the best tariff available from within that firm and how to switch. Some 70 per cent of households pay more than they need to because they are not on the best rate, while there are 120 tariffs from which to choose.

Energy providers – such as British Gas, Npower and EDF – have come under pressure to curb price rises and to improve transparency as household incomes are squeezed by high inflation and low wage growth.

Consumer groups broadly welcomed the move but said more was needed to ensure customers were receiving the best deals.

Unveiling the agreement, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “These are the kinds of changes that help people save money, that get us thinking about the energy we use, that promote the kind of thrift that is good for pockets as well as the planet.”