Energy bills 'needlessly confusing'

Energy bills are full of jargon and leave many customers struggling to understand how much they owe, a consumer group has said.

Energy bills are full of jargon and leave many customers struggling to understand how much they owe, a consumer group has said.

 

Which? said bills from energy companies were "needlessly confusing", using terms such as "calorific value" and "normal primary units", with one company even using a minus sign for a credit amount.

 

One in four people surveyed by the group struggled to understand how much they owed their energy supplier, with consumers also complaining they had little idea how their bills were calculated.

 

Energy companies themselves are also failing to impress customers, with npower receiving a customer satisfaction score of just 28%, putting it at the bottom of the table for the third year running, while British Gas was not far behind at 38 per cent. But other groups fared better, with Utility Warehouse receiving a 75 per cent score, while Ebico got 66 per cent.

 

Martyn Hocking, editor of Which? magazine, said: "When you hear the term 'calorific value' you're more likely to think about a diet than your energy bill, but this is the kind of language that's being bandied about. This makes it a struggle for customers to understand their bills.

 

"Consumers aren't going to be able to reduce their energy use or find the best deal if they don't understand what's going on. Bills need to be much clearer, and better customer service from the energy companies wouldn't go amiss either."

 

The group is calling for all energy bills to contain an itemised summary box so that consumers can see key information about their energy usage at a glance.

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