Competition and market change: how bright is the energy future?

Following the provisional findings, which were published back in March, the latest update from the CMA sees the competition watchdog reiterate much of what’s been said before.

Announced amidst the frenzy of the EU referendum results, the report’s recommended remedies don’t exactly break new ground, but they do offer some more detail around the original proposals: if action is taken now, they could be just the tools needed to power up the energy industry.

Non-switchers

The report announces the opening up of ‘non-switchers’ to marketing from new suppliers, meaning that energy customers who have been on default tariffs for three years or more will have their details made accessible to competitor energy providers. Critics claim that this could mean too much unwanted contact from rival companies, but the CMA promises that the prompting system will be kept under control.

At CNG, we’re all about providing a real alternative to the dominant industry players, and we’ve been doing it with power and confidence for as long as we can remember. Despite the initial fears, it’s good to see the industry acknowledging that it can do better, and taking some proactive steps to get there.

Roll-over, lock-in tariffs

For years now, suppliers have had the power to roll customers straight onto a new tariff, meaning they can find themselves locked into a contract that’s not right, without the chance to opt out or find a better deal. The CMA will work towards ending this process, in a move to boost honesty and fair competition. Energy companies will no longer be able to impose scary termination fees, and will have to give longer notice periods, allowing everyone enough time to think about switching.

Roll-over tariffs have needed attention for some time now, and some – it has to be said – have used them unscrupulously in the past. Energy suppliers need to work with their customers to find long-term solutions – that’s where they can really power up.

For better business

An encouraging section of the review covers the remedies for microbusinesses. As the UK’s largest independent business gas supplier, we understand the pressures faced by business customers, who might not have the time or the inclination to prioritise energy. These are the customers for whom the measures could really make a difference.

CNG has always been an advocate of competition: we stand up for our customers, giving them fair prices and individually tailored services, as well as helping smaller suppliers to the market, with the goal of making the whole energy market a better place.