MSE News: Energy comparison sites hide cheap tariffs, but we don't

in Energy
73 replies 9.9K views


  • edited 20 October 2014 at 4:08PM
    ConsumeristConsumerist Forumite
    6.2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    edited 20 October 2014 at 4:08PM
    KTF wrote: »
    The Big Deal doesnt allow you to enter your annual Kw consumption figures, only the monthly cost you spend so I wont be using them anyway.

    On energyhelpline -
    At the bottom of the current supplier page are three options from which to enter your current usage :-

    * I spend £
    * I use kWh per year
    * I don't know my gas/electricity usage

    I don't see any option to show all tariffs / only those tariffs I can switch to but the results table does include some suppliers for which you can "enquire" rather than switch.

    I am using Firefox 32.03 but the NoScript add-on might be preventing some elements of the page from showing.

    Temorparily allowing all scripts through NoScript shows the options to filter results to show

    * Tariffs we can switch you to today (selected by default)
    * All available tariff

    So "Tariffs we can switch you to" is selected by default
    >:)Warning: In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
  • KTFKTF Forumite
    4.8K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Not on the big deal website it doesnt.


  • ConsumeristConsumerist Forumite
    6.2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Oops! Sorry KTF, I was on the EHL. :(
    >:)Warning: In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
  • AquamaniaAquamania Forumite
    2.1K Posts
    Fromply wrote: »
    What they are doing is paying a bribe to the comparison website for a favourable listing over those companies that don't pay the bribe!

    I think you are giving the energy suppliers far too much credence if you think they can bribe the independent energy comparators as to how they display the information. (and all in exactly the same way?)

    Some of the comparison sites do, by default, set up filters that allows their users to easily see which suppliers & tariffs they can switch people to (and get paid!), but that is a decision of the comparison operator, not the energy suppliers.
  • edited 20 October 2014 at 7:20PM
    Richie-from-the-BoroRichie-from-the-Boro Forumite
    6.9K Posts
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    edited 20 October 2014 at 7:20PM
    Its the original Ofgem 2 click rule on 'show all tariffs' that allowed this in the first place, and allowed to to proliferate to the extent it did. There should never have been a one click let alone a two click rule.The 'whole market view' which was and is part of the Ofgem 'confidence code' should have been made mandatory front page from the get-go but as we have seen in all deliberately contrived Laissez-faire UK consumer legislation it was conveniently allowed to be kicked two pages down into the internet page long grass. The '91 Thatcher origins of water, gas, electricity and phone networks were designed and created through a non-democratic process without public participation or transparent information about the cost data underlying prices. its hardly a surprise to me that without effective regulation democracy does not work for the people, democracy without regulation means the UK is not a country - its a business, there to be milked by market forces by [GOV / Ofgem] those who designed the rules.
    Disclaimer : Everything I write on this forum is my opinion. I try to be an even-handed poster and accept that you at times may not agree with these opinions or how I choose to express them, this is not my problem. The Disabled : If years cannot be added to their lives, at least life can be added to their years - Alf Morris - ℜ
  • It is, of course, Ofgem to blame. I am sure there has been more than enough time for the Compliance Code to have been revised. This problem was known about and complained about immediately, years ago.

    It has been ignored by Ofgem and such as the BBC and newspapers for a long time. Watchdog and You and Yours have been informed of this several times (by me alone, especially after another advertorial with Ann Robinson) but the issue is never raised.

    MSE aren't totally innocent, either - for years they have had a 'switch and save and earn up to £30' sticky whilst the true cashbacks have been up to £130! And as far as I remember the Cheap Energy Club only flags dual fuel deals on the one tariff, not separate tariffs.
  • edited 20 October 2014 at 6:29PM
    CardewCardew Forumite
    28.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Rampant Recycler
    edited 20 October 2014 at 6:29PM
    I see, and always have seen, exactly the same as Snowman, i.e. on the bottom of that page is:

    Filter my results to show

    Tariffs we can switch you to today

    All available tariffs
    The default position is the first option(i.e. commission earning)

    That is on IE11 & Win 7

    Just tried with my IPad and exactly the same as above
  • edited 20 October 2014 at 7:19PM
    CardewCardew Forumite
    28.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Rampant Recycler
    edited 20 October 2014 at 7:19PM
    For eight years or so myself and several posters on MSE have been anti-comparison websites.

    This is not only for their Modus operandi but the many £millions that they all make in commission and we all pay for in increased charges.

    A little research will reveal the eye-watering sums the parent companies of these websites have been paid when bought out!

    Long term MSE readers may recall early 2008 optional fixed term tariffs were introduced with the option of companies charging a penalty if a customer left early. This was partly to stop the 'tarts' who swopped tariffs several times a year simply for the cashback(I have no criticism of those who played the system) - a system that the comparison websites condoned.

    There was a huge outcry from the comparison websites at the introduction of penalties, as they saw it affecting their commission from reduction in numbers switching. I posted the following in early 2008 and there are loads of similar threads:
    The problem with the comparison sites is that they are driven by the need to get their commission. The many millions of pounds that they, or sites like Quidco get from the Utility companies, are paid for by us the consumer.

    Take the latest round of price rises; everyone but everyone knows that all companies will be raising their prices. Yet the comparison sites were urging people to change straight away, often jumping from frying pan into fire, and then changing again. Another 2 sets of commission!

    Some people are changing on a regular basis 2 or 3 times a year purely for the incentives offered(I believe you have suggested this) Again this is just another overhead that we all pay for in the end.

    By the way I am not criticising those who hop from supplier to supplier, it is just the system should not encourage it by rewards that we pay for.

    This market is crying out for a non-profit making organisation to set up a website giving unbiased advice on the cheapest tariffs and not driven by the need to get people to change supplier purely for the benefit of the comparison sites themselves.

    This is why the introduction of fixed price tariffs with penalties for leaving will benefit us all in the end. No wonder the comparison websites are squealing!

    We have spawned a parasitic industry, and the sooner it is gone the better.
    Aquamania posted this:
    Something else our taxes can be put towards providing?

    A nice little new quango is what is needed.

    Shotgun the head position. I won't charge too much per year; less than 7 figures honestly

    And I guarantee, no profits will be made for the taxpayers that fund us.
    Well we already have a 'quango'. The Energy Saving Trust(EST) is government funded. With little more than a ZX81;) or PC it would be simple to produce an authoritative and unbiased comparison website from the tariffs supplied direct from the Energy distribution companies. A modest fee would cover the EST's costs.

    So a single Comparison Website that everyone could trust and no more 'advertorials from Ann Robinson' - that latter point alone justifies the project;)

    Bear in mind that such organisations can be scrutinised by Parliament either by questions in the House or by the Parliamentary Committee on Energy.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Forumite
    0 Posts
    Eighth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    MoneySaving Newbie
    Martin fully explained how his site works and was very upset with a virtual slanging match with his accuser on Adrian Chiles Radio 5 live lunchtime prog today.He ended up even saying "you have defamed me " so maybe a law suit pending here. Excellent listening and worth a listen on catch-up for the full 3 rounds. Adrian tried to get them to shake hands..Martin refused
  • edited 20 October 2014 at 8:17PM
    CashStrappedCashStrapped Forumite
    1.3K Posts
    edited 20 October 2014 at 8:17PM
    Regarding the posts earlier with regards to energyhelpline showing or not showing a further option to "show all available tariffs", I have found the solution.

    As I use firefox, I use a series of "add-ons" to remove ads and prevent scripts executing without my authorisation.

    If anyone is interested I use: Ad-block plus, ghostry and No-Scripts.

    They are well worth it (take a bit of getting used to), as I have a complete ad free internet experience. It also means I have a much safer browsing experience.

    Anyway - It appears that the last option is a separate script on the page which is classed as an ad by Ghostry and No-Script. It is run by - That is the script that enables that last option on that page.

    So it is a script/tracking script that presumably is classed as an Ad as it has some sort of Advertising effect i.e promoting certain tariffs.

    But is has never appeared for me with my add-ons.

    Problems solved - We are not going mad
This discussion has been closed.
Latest MSE News and Guides