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New 30-day warning over gas and electricity rises

New 30-day warning over gas and electricity rises

Category: Gas and electricity

Updated: 28/04/2011
First Published: 28/04/2011

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Gas and electricity suppliers must now give their customers at least 30 days advance notice if they put their prices up.

The new rule, introduced by the regulator Ofgem and which comes into effect today, will help customers decide whether they wish to remain with their current supplier and give them a better chance to budget for any price rises that occur.

Previously, energy suppliers had up to three months in which to notify consumers after putting up their prices.

The new rule also means customers will get at least 30 days advance notice of any change to their contract which would leave them significantly worse off.

Andrew Wright, Ofgem's senior partner for markets, said the regulator is determined to ensure that energy firms play it straight with consumers.

"Giving customers advance warning of price rises is one way of ensuring a fairer deal for them," he added.

Last month, Ofgem published proposals for widespread reforms to tackle poor supplier behaviour, sweep away confusing tariffs and break the stranglehold of the big six on the energy market. The industry has until 1 June to respond.

"People clearly need to be given fair warning if prices are going to go up, not told months after the event," commented Hannah Mummery, energy expert for Consumer Focus.

"This welcome move will help give people the opportunity to budget for higher bills in advance, weigh up their options about whether to switch supplier and shop around."

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