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Gocompare.com comments on Ed Miliband's proposal to fix energy prices

24 September 2013

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In his party conference speech Labour leader Ed Milliband pledged that gas and electricity bills would not go up for 20 months if Labour won the next general election in 2015.

Mr Milliband said the move would save the average household around £120 a year and businesses around £1,800 on their energy bills.

While recent research by Gocompare.com found that 59% of UK householders would welcome the government doing more to keep energy prices under control and 65% felt that we pay too much for energy, Gocompare.com's energy spokesperson Jeremy Cryer doesn't believe that a nationwide energy price fix is necessarily the solution.

Jeremy explained: "While we would welcome anything that saves the consumer money, I don't think this is the answer. If we are going to have a competitive energy market, providers need to be able set prices and make investment decisions for the future.  The role of government and the regulators should be to moderate the behaviour of providers, encourage best practice and protect the consumer.

"If consumers like the idea of fixing their energy bills, Scottish Power has a deal at the moment where you can fix until January 2017.  But fixing can be a gamble for consumers. Fixing your energy bills is a great idea when the market is volatile and prices are going up and down, it's not such a good idea when those prices are stable, as you pay a premium to fix."

Jeremy added: "A good signal for when it's best to fix is when good deals and good tariffs start disappearing from the market - which they have been in recent weeks. And as winter approaches, it's likely that the wholesale price will rise again as demand for gas and electricity increases, so again, that's a good time to fix.

"We support First Utility's campaign for quicker energy switching. Enabling customers to switch suppliers easier and faster would be a much better way to save consumers money. It can take around five weeks to swap energy providers and many people are scared to switch.

"People should be able to make an informed choice about their energy provider and be able to switch quickly to save themselves some money. If banks can do it, why can't the energy industry?"