Arab Today, arab today uk energy firms to drop \del boy\ sales tactics
Last Updated : GMT 17:42:38
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

UK energy firms to drop \'Del Boy\' sales tactics

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today UK energy firms to drop \'Del Boy\' sales tactics

London - AFP

British energy firms should stop using \"Del Boy\"-style sales tricks and pay compensation to customers who were mis-sold gas and electricity contracts, a group of MPs has said. Members of the Energy and Climate Change select committee said they feared customers were being confused by the array of complex energy tariffs pitched by doorstep salesmen. The MPs expressed concern that these customers were being pushed into contracts with different suppliers no better or even worse than their current one. Energy watchdog Ofgem estimates 40% of people who switch do not get a better deal. \"There is mounting concern in parliament about the doorstep selling techniques of large energy companies,\" Conservative MP Tim Yeo, chairman of the select committee, said at the launch of their report on Ofgem\'s Retail Market Review. \"If it turns out that consumers are being persuaded to switch contracts when it\'s not in their best interests, by salespeople keen to earn commission, then it would only be right for the energy companies to cough up compensation.\" He urged the companies to take action themselves without waiting for the government or watchdog Ofgem to act. Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), one of the big six group of energy suppliers, suspended its doorstep activity earlier in July after being found guilty of two counts of mis-selling in a case brought by Surrey County Council. SSE, which is appealing the verdict, said that the market had changed, with fewer people willing to engage with traditional doorstep sellers. Yeo welcomed SSE\'s decision and urged the rest of the big six firms to stop using \"Del Boy sales tricks\" and concentrate on giving customers the information they needed to choose the correct contract. Christine McGourty, director of industry body Energy UK, said the rules around doorstep selling were tighter than ever. \"Sales people (are) now required by the energy regulator to leave the customer with a written quote that sets out any likely saving,\" McGourty said. \"And sales people are also under instructions not to knock on doors that clearly display no cold-calling stickers.\" Official figures released on July 15 showed one in five UK households were affected by fuel poverty -- when a household needs to spend more than 10 percent of income on energy bills for adequate warmth -- in 2009. The number of UK households in fuel poverty rose from 4.5 million in 2008 to 5.5 million in 2009, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) figures showed. Campaign groups warn recent price hikes by energy companies will leave millions more people struggling to pay their bills and put vulnerable people at risk. The UK\'s biggest energy supplier Centrica earlier in July announced rises in its gas and electricity prices from August. The firm, which owns British Gas, said it was raising its domestic tariffs for gas by an average 18% and electricity by an average 16%, with some bills increasing by as much as 25%. The company blamed rising wholesale costs, which it said had increased 30% since last winter on higher global demand for gas and the impact on supply of unrest in the Arab world. That announcement came in the wake of sharp prices rises outlined by Scottish Power, owned by Spanish firm Iberdrola, which plans to raise the cost of gas by 19 percent and electricity by 10% in August.

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