September 21, 2011

YOU HAVE TO BREAK THEIR WINDOWS FIRST:

Energy switching: Why the customer inertia? (Tom de Castella, 9/20/11, BBC News)

Energy regulator Ofgem found in a survey this year that four out of five consumers are failing to shop around for gas and electricity, costing themselves an extra £100 a year.

So why are people so reluctant to save money on bills when they delight in bargains at the supermarket or online?

For some it's a lot of hassle thinking about what, for most people, is a fairly dull subject.

There is also the possibility that the public is suspicious of firms who try to lure them away from their current provider. In July, a committee of MPs said that energy firms were using "Del Boy" tactics to get consumers to switch provider.

Consumer experts also say that many consumers wrongly fear that by moving, their service may be interrupted. In most cases - broadband apart - this worry is false.

Energy is the most glaring case because the product - gas in the pipes and electricity in the wires - is identical whichever provider you opt for. The only difference is the cost and the call centre you have to deal with.

Tom Lyon, energy expert at price comparison site uSwitch.com, says it takes no more than 15 minutes to change energy provider. "It's not particularly sexy or fun thing to do. But if you've never switched before you could save £300 to £400 a year."


Homo economicus is as real as Piltdown Man.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 21, 2011 7:08 AM
  
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