Switching energy suppliers to get quicker
The time it takes to switch energy suppliers is set to be slashed by 50%, it has been announced today.
Suppliers have pledged to cut the time it takes to switch to around two and a half weeks by the end of the year, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
Ed Davey, secretary of state for climate change, said the ultimate aim is for consumers to be able to switch in just 24 hours.
Watchdog Ofgem will be opening a consultation next month on the best way to bring this about.
In the meantime, Davey gave energy customers the following advice: "I would urge people who want a better deal on their energy bills to switch now - don't wait for these latest improvements to happen.
"Over two million people switched energy supplier between October last year and March this year, as competition is now hotting up. Some of the new smaller suppliers are cutting prices and forcing bigger players to respond, so check out today's deals."
Major step forward
Jeremy Cryer, energy spokesman with Gocompare, said the move was good news for consumers.
"Faster switching is a major step forward in opening up the energy market and making it quicker and easier for households to change their energy supplier," he said.
Energy UK, the trade body that represents energy suppliers, added: "The energy industry believes in faster switching and will make it a reality for customers as quickly as we can and as soon as the legal and technical challenges are overcome."
The energy market has become a political issue in recent months, with consumers concerned over high prices and poor customer service.
Earlier this year, Davey called on Ofgem to look into the profits of the Big Six firms and said companies who were found to be ripping-off customers could be broken up. The market is now facing a review by the Competition and Markets Authority.