Britain is wasting £7bn on expensive energy tariffs

Image of someone setting fire to a tenner
A very literal visual interpretation of setting fire to money
"£7bn is a lot of money by almost anyone's reckoning, and the fact that British households are hosing this up the proverbial wall is grim news indeed" Ben Wilson, Gocompare.com
  • | by Kristian Dando

Seven billion pounds. Let that figure sink in for a moment.

That's approximately the gross domestic product of Haiti. It could pay for roughly one million state pensions for a year, or over two million jobseeker's allowance payments for the same period.

You could do a lot of damage with that sort of money.

But that's the figure which Britain has collectively frittered away by overpaying on its gas and electricity over the past three years as a result of being on standard variable tariffs (SVT), according to energy company First Utility.

Standard variable tariffs, as we have recently established, are a mug's game.

They leave your bills at the whims of the energy companies, many of which are currently jacking their prices up.

And according to First Utility, each household which has been on a SVT for the past three years has overspent to the tune - a sad one, we'd wager - of £800.

Ouch. You could easily go on a nice holiday with that sort of money, and have plenty of change for a chippy supper when you got home.

The thing is, many people don't know they're on a SVT.

That's because energy companies aren't always in a hurry to tell you you're on them, with many customers only receiving a bill as little as once a quarter or even once a year.

And why would they? It's more profitable to keep you on one, after all.

Then there's the issue of apathy.

Things are changing, thankfully, but a lot of work still to be done before the majority of households in the UK become regular switchers, even with the piles of money that could potentially be saved.

Ben Wilson, Gocompare.com's resident energy buff opined: "£7bn is a lot of money by almost anyone's reckoning, and the fact that British households are hosing this up the proverbial wall is grim news indeed.

"Fortunately, it's easy to switch. Just get your last bill with details of your energy usage and fire up a comparison service like Gocompare.com to quickly and easily see what you might be able to save."

Compare gas and electricity with Gocompare.com