Are Standard energy tariffs trackers under SLCs?

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User70200
User70200 Posts: 13 Forumite
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Like most people I am now on the Standard energy tariff for my gas and electricity. In mid April I received my quarterly bill showing an increase from 1st April.

My understanding of the Supply License Conditions was that a price increase should be proceeded by a Price Increase Notification letter at least 30 days in advance. This I had not received.

I contacted my supplier by email asking about the issue of a PIN letter and if they hadn’t sent one or couldn’t prove that one had been issued to remove the price increase as it was not applicable due to the process of notification not being issued.

The responses I got were vague and unsatisfactory. After being escalated to a complaints handler their responses stopped. After a couple more emails from myself chasing a response and then giving a deadline to respond I went to the ombudsman.

I provided the email chain and asked that as the price increase process had not been followed that the new prices should not be applicable until the process was followed. Evidence from the company advised they could not provide specific evidence of issuing a PIN but they were certain they would have done so and even if I hadn’t received one then the caveat that “prices may increase in future” covered this situation too.

The ombudsman reviewed and found that the process for issuing a PIN letter is not applicable as the Standard tariff is classed as a tracker.

I appealed but the original decision was upheld.

Have I been mistaken in my understanding of the SLCs? Standard tariffs were never previously considered trackers were they? Has this changed with the introduction of the cap? If I am correct where do I stand now that I have gone to ombudsman and appealed the decision?

Any advise will be gratefully received.

Comments

  • [Deleted User]
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    You have lost. SVTs have by default become the Ofgem Capped tariff as there isn’t a supplier in the Country which is offering a fixed tariff at a cheaper rate than the Cap.

    The requirement to provide customers with 30 days notice was dropped some time ago.

    SLCs now state:

    to ‘be provided in a Form and at an appropriate time that is designed to prompt that Domestic Customer to make an informed choice in light of the proposed Change ….’

    SLCs also use the term unilateral changes. Arguably, a Government-imposed increase in the Cap is not unilateral. If the Cap was to be reduced, suppliers would have no option but to reduce their tariffs.

    ’Informed choice’ - what options do you have? You will not find a cheaper tariff than the Ofgem Cap.


  • User70200
    User70200 Posts: 13 Forumite
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    Thanks, I guess that advice like this: “As SVTs are variable, it means the unit rates of your gas and electricity can go up and down as your energy supplier dictates — though you'll have to have notice of this happening. They are the type of energy tariff that are affected by price rises.” on the uswitch website is outdated, though it was only published May ‘22
  • [Deleted User]
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    What do you think is outdated in that uswitch advice?
  • User70200
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    though you'll have to have notice of this happening.” is what seems outdated from the ombudsman findings and this thread as there seems to be no requirement on suppliers to communicate the details of a increase in the cap to customers.
  • [Deleted User]
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    Most suppliers have announced today (26 August) what the tariff will be on 1 October.  Pretty sure that's notice.
  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,822 Forumite
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    User70200 said:
    Any advise will be gratefully received.
    What does it say in your supplier's T&C about tariff changes?
    My supplier's T&C say:
    If we propose to make changes to your Contract that are not to your advantage (including increasing charges or changes to a Time of Use Tariff formula that results in higher charges) we will give you reasonable notice of the changes.

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  • User70200
    User70200 Posts: 13 Forumite
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    QrizB said:
    User70200 said:
    Any advise will be gratefully received.
    What does it say in your supplier's T&C about tariff changes?
    My supplier's T&C say:
    If we propose to make changes to your Contract that are not to your advantage (including increasing charges or changes to a Time of Use Tariff formula that results in higher charges) we will give you reasonable notice of the changes.

    Thank you, just looked and it says this “If we make changes to your contract which put you at a disadvantage (including where we increase our prices), then we’ll give you reasonable notice in an appropriate form to let you know about the change (reasonable notice being enough time for you to avoid the proposed change if you want to).” though not sure if I can go back with this as I’ve already appealed the ombudsman and they upheld their decision.
  • [Deleted User]
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    User70200 said:
    QrizB said:
    User70200 said:
    Any advise will be gratefully received.
    What does it say in your supplier's T&C about tariff changes?
    My supplier's T&C say:
    If we propose to make changes to your Contract that are not to your advantage (including increasing charges or changes to a Time of Use Tariff formula that results in higher charges) we will give you reasonable notice of the changes.

    Thank you, just looked and it says this “If we make changes to your contract which put you at a disadvantage (including where we increase our prices), then we’ll give you reasonable notice in an appropriate form to let you know about the change (reasonable notice being enough time for you to avoid the proposed change if you want to).” though not sure if I can go back with this as I’ve already appealed the ombudsman and they upheld their decision.
    ‘Reasonable notice’ is enough time for you to transfer your supply to a new supplier. As switching times have now dropped to 5 days, then it is logical that suppliers still have sometime to provide Notice. However, I refer to the term Unilateral which is used in SLCs. A change to the Ofgem Cap is arguably not a unilateral change: the counter argument being that suppliers are not required to charge their customers the Capped price.

    As you say, The EO route is now closed off to you. 
  • BUFF
    BUFF Posts: 2,185 Forumite
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    which exact supplier/tariff are you on? Iirc there were tariffs that tracked the SVT or SVT minus a set figure but were not actually SVTs themselves ...
  • User70200
    User70200 Posts: 13 Forumite
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    BUFF said:
    which exact supplier/tariff are you on? Iirc there were tariffs that tracked the SVT or SVT minus a set figure but were not actually SVTs themselves ...
    Just the standard SVT as my fixed tariff ended in Jan and there were no cheaper options at the time
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