By Catherine Hunter

Most Valentine’s Days are spent thinking about baes but today we’re focusing on BEIS.

“I felt taken for granted” “my loyalty wasn’t valued” “I was tempted by a new offer” these are all reasons we can dump our energy supplier in favour of a new deal. And we’re doing it in our thousands. More than 5.8 million customers changed their energy supplier in 2018.

For many suppliers, they’ll be left thinking “how did it end up like this?”. During her conference speech in 2017, Theresa May noted that the energy market was broken and proposed a cap to fix it. Since then, we’ve seen smaller suppliers go bust, the potential marriage of Npower and SSE break down and just last week the level of the cap raise.

The market is simple – deliver electricity to those who want it, when they need it. But like any love story, it has become more complicated than that. There are many suppliers vying for our affections showcasing a variety of tariffs from Time of Use tariffs and EV only options. But as the cooling off period sees the honeymoon phase end, we’re left with the harsh reality of what a relationship is really like.

Kind gestures start to dwindle and getting the best deals stop as the relationship begins to stagnate. BEIS’ price cap has been introduced to put us back on the path of a happy relationship. By protecting consumers from the worst relationship, can we rekindle our romance with the energy market?

In an effort to woo us back, suppliers are offering cheap deals, refer a friend codes and deals to make you feel good about the planet – from renewable only tariffs to vegan tariffs. These aren’t things our first love offered us, but they might prioritise our interests enough to win us back.

A competitive marketplace puts the power in the hands of the consumer. Satisfaction ratings with suppliers provide a key insight into how well they are doing. Smaller suppliers are typically sitting higher than the big six who can be found in the lower third of the table – proving size doesn’t matter. Which? gets customers to review their supplier on a range of measures from bill accuracy to customer service. The results are vast ranging from 44% to 80% satisfied. Such a gap shows there is more to be done to keep our relationship heading in the right direction. Communication, like in any good relationship, has a role to play. Of the six metrics judged by Which? at least four of them can be improved with effective and efficient communications.

Evidently, we need electricity, but do we even need to love our supplier? At a basic level, we want fair pricing, good customer service and a reliable supply – all things BEIS can help ensure. We might not need to love our supplier, but we can expect a better relationship.

 

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