Age UK energy tariffs to be investigated by regulator

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Claims that charity Age UK recommended pricey E.on energy tariffs to pensioners are to be investigated by the energy regulator.

The move comes after The Sun alleged Age UK recommended a special rate from big six energy provider E.on, which cost £245 more than the firm’s cheapest 2015 rate.

The newspaper claims pensioners typically paid £1,049 for the tariff, and that Age UK made at least £6 million a year – around £41 for every person who signed up - from recommending the products.

But Age UK says it “strongly rejects the allegations and interpretation of figures”, and adds that its typical commission is £10 per customer. It says financial support beyond this is not linked to customer numbers.

Meanwhile E.on says it “always” works to make sure its tariffs “are competitively priced” and adds that its current Age UK tariff was the cheapest two-year fixed deal in Britain when it was launched.

Investigation launched

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has asked energy regulator Ofgem to investigate the claims. She says:
“People expect a fair deal when it comes to their energy bills, not a rough deal.

“I take very seriously this allegation that Britain’s pensioners are being misled, so immediately contacted Ofgem which will now investigate this urgently and report back to me.”

A spokesperson for Ofgem says: “Ofgem rules require energy companies to treat consumers fairly when they are marketing and selling energy.

“Ofgem has a track record of punishing firms who mislead consumers and we will look carefully at these claims.”

‘Customers offered a choice’

As well as rebuffing the claims, an Age UK spokesperson says: “When customers contact us they are offered a choice of all four E.on tariffs and many choose the one year tariff or variable option. However, many prefer the reassurance of a fixed tariff for two years.

“We have no exit fees so customers can move anytime if they find a different deal. This means they can pick a tariff that best suits their needs.

“E.on also offers a free Price Alerts system that lets customers know of potentially better deals as soon as they’re available.”

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