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Surprise energy price hikes banned

Surprise energy price hikes banned

Category: Gas and electricity

Updated: 14/12/2012
First Published: 29/03/2011

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This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Energy firms will have to give customers advance warning when they plan to increase the cost of gas & electricity from next month.

The energy regulator Ofgem has ruled that energy companies will no longer be allowed to write to consumers after price rises have come into affect.

Currently, firms have up to three months to notify their customers that prices have been hiked.

However, from 28 April, customers will have to be written to 30 days before any rise in energy costs.

The new rules are part of the energy watchdog's efforts to make the sector easier for consumers to understand.

Firms have been told to make their bills easier to understand, while information should be easily accessible for customers wishing to switch their supplier.

Ofgem has also ruled that consumers will have to receive 30 days' warning of any change in their energy contract that will leave them significantly worse off.

"These changes will again show that we are serious about making sure suppliers play it straight with consumers," Andrew Wright, Ofgem's senior partner for markets, said.

"We believe that 30 days advance notification of price increases, coupled with our new proposals for more transparency and an end to complex tariffs, will give consumers more power to make informed switching choices."

The new rules come against a backdrop of rising energy prices.

All major energy suppliers have increased their standard gas and electricity tariffs in recent months, blaming rising wholesale and infrastructure costs.

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