Conservatives set out plans to make switching energy supplier easier

Households could find it easier to switch to cheaper, more consumer-friendly energy suppliers under plans being set out by the Tories.

Price comparison services will be made easier to use and regulator Ofgem could publish league tables showing how long energy firms take to respond to customer complaints under the proposals.

As Ofgem prepared to set out the latest energy price cap figure, the Conservatives committed to maintaining that policy throughout the next parliament if Rishi Sunak wins the General Election.

Cabinet meeting
Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho said the Tories want suppliers to put consumers first (Lucy North/PA)

Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho said: “Labour does not have a serious approach to Britain’s energy security and they aren’t honest about the costs that their reckless net zero targets would place on households.”

But Labour retaliated, dismissing the Tory approach as a “bunch of empty buzzwords” which would do nothing to lower bills.

The Tory plan includes:

– A call for evidence on price comparison services to help consumers make more informed choices about when to switch tariffs.

– Working with Ofgem to develop options to enable customers to see the performance of energy firms, potentially including league tables ranking companies by helpline wait times and customer service responses.

– Consulting on regulating energy brokers and price comparison websites to prevent rip-off hidden fees, inaccurate bills and high-pressure sales tactics.

– A new code of practice covering the installation and use of smart meters.

– An expectation that Ofgem’s review of standing charges will ensure they are kept as low as possible.

Ms Coutinho said: “Thanks to our bold action, energy bills are at their lowest in two years, now we’re telling suppliers to put consumers first and bring real competition back to the market, cutting bills further and improving customer service.

“Only the Conservatives have a clear plan for a secure future where we reach net zero without punishing families with extra costs.”

But Labour said Ms Coutinho had failed to set out any actual policies or commitments that would cut bills.

“After 14 years of failed Conservative energy policy, all Rishi Sunak has left to offer is a bunch of empty buzzwords, none of which will do anything to bring down energy bills for hardworking families,” a Labour spokesman said.

“This is not a plan – this is a call for evidence, a set of options, two consultations, a copy-and-paste job from an old letter, and lots of wishful thinking. The Tories’ grand idea after 14 years in power is to ask the public if their energy bills are too high.

“Bills are projected to be more than £400 higher than before the energy crisis – and are projected to rise again in the winter.

“But the only action the Conservatives have suggested here is to ditch their previous plan to abandon the energy price cap, a policy they only implemented because Labour campaigned for it.

“The Conservatives will never end the cost-of-living crisis – only Labour has a plan to cut bills and make Britain energy independent.”