Energy bills still confusing consumers
Electricity and gas bills are still causing consumers the most confusion despite the introduction of new rules aimed at making them easier to understand, research has found.
Gocompare.com's annual 'Baffling Bills Survey' found that nearly a third of customers (31%) thought their electric bill the was most difficult to understand followed by gas (28%), water (14%) and home insurance policy documents (11%).
In March 2014, regulator Ofgem introduced new rules that state information on bills must be presented in a clear, easy-to-understand, and jargon-free way to help customers get a better idea about what they are being charged and help them compare different tariffs.
However, consumers are still finding it difficult, with a third of people admitting they don't bother to read bills that they find confusing, while a sizeable 58% believe that companies deliberately make their bills hard to understand.
Complicated calculations (63%) was the most given reason for not understanding a bill, followed by not understanding the terminology used (38%) and too much information being presented (28%).
Jeremy Cryer, energy spokesperson at Gocompare.com, said: "In addition to showing customers what they have paid and what they owe, the new format bills give customers personalised information on the cheapest tariff their supplier offers. Annual statements will contain useful information on tariffs including discounts, end dates, termination fees and give details on switching suppliers and a summary of the customer's yearly energy usage.
"The new style bills have now been in force for over six months but, our survey suggests, many customers are still struggling to get to grips with the information they are being sent. However, we urge customers to take a fresh look at their energy bills to make sure they are not missing out on valuable savings."