Supplier calls for ‘one-price’ energy

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One of the UK’s biggest energy suppliers has called for petrol forecourt-style pricing in a bid to help consumers identify the best deals.

EDF Energy, which supplies 5.5 million households and businesses, said it will implement single-unit pricing for gas and electricity if all other suppliers also committed to it.

It would mean that customers would only need one price – the unit price – to compare between different suppliers.

Energy prices are currently set regionally with some suppliers including a standing charge and a price for each unit of electricity and gas consumed. Other suppliers operate a two-tier structure, where customers are charged a lower unit rate once a certain amount has been used.

Energy watchdog Ofgem, which is overseeing reforms of the retail energy market, said it shared EDF’s goal of a simpler energy market but warned the single unit price option was not as “simple as it sounds”.

Ofgem’s retail markets and research partner Maxine Frerk said it did not take into account discounts for payment method, dual fuel and paperless billing.

She added: “Our extensive consumer research indicates that customers value these discounts, and our reforms seek to deliver simplicity while retaining the choice that consumers value.”

Its reforms aim to ensure there are fewer tariffs, clearer information for consumers and fairer treatment from suppliers.