EDF Energy calls for 'petrol station forecourt' pricing

Gas hob EDF Energy compared the idea to a petrol forecourt where there is a single-pricing system for fuel

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One of the UK's biggest energy suppliers has called for single-unit pricing for gas and electricity to help consumers compare tariffs as easily as they currently shop around for petrol.

EDF Energy said it would introduce the system if all other suppliers did too.

The energy regulator Ofgem said the proposed scheme would not be as easy to implement as it might appear.

This was because of the number of payment options and special "dual fuel" packages that currently existed.

A plan by Ofgem to simplify the energy market will be included in the forthcoming Energy Bill.

It will require companies to limit the number of tariffs on offer to four for each of gas and electricity.

But EDF said that plan was still too complicated.

'Simple way'

The French-owned firm called for all companies to set a single-unit price for gas and another for electricity.

Richard Lloyd from Which?: "If we don't have these changes, we'll all just carry on as we are"

It compared the idea to a petrol forecourt, saying it would mean customers could easily spot who was offering the lowest prices for fuel - just as easily as customers who drive between different petrol stations can instantly see where the best prices are offered.

But EDF said it would only implement such a pricing scheme if all the other energy firms followed suit.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of consumer group Which?, said simplifying tariffs would help customers.

"When we've tested prices being presented in this simple way we've found eight in 10 consumers can readily spot the best price for them," he said.

"So the current system is too complicated, the regulator and the government want to simplify the energy market for consumers, and the reforms they're proposing at the moment are still too complex."

Start Quote

People who use more power will end up paying a higher amount”

End Quote Ramsay Dunning Co-operative Energy

Ian Marlee, of Ofgem, said: "What consumers have said to us, and we've researched with thousands of consumers, is that what they want is choice but they also want simplicity.

"What they want is the kind of discounts like a duel fuel discount or paperless billing discounts, that if you really were just to go for a unit rate, those wouldn't be offered."

The UK's largest energy supplier, British Gas, rejected the proposal.

And supplier Co-operative Energy said there would be winners and losers under the system.

"People who use more power will end up paying a higher amount. That's not necessarily a bad thing because, with the drive for energy efficiency, it'll be an additional incentive... to help people bring about energy efficiency. But we need to be very clear that that would be the case," said Ramsay Dunning, the company's general manager.

BBC business correspondent Joe Lynam said normally consumer choice was a good thing but the hundreds of different types of tariffs had left consumers confused.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 299.

    In "simplifying" it, energy just got a whole lot more expensive. The fixed charges required to e.g. maintain power lines, can be listed separately. By putting it into the unit price, everyone pays far more than necessary.

    Make it so they have to list every charge, NOT roll them all up into one figure. If this passes, people had better be ready for a large increase in costs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 298.

    "People who use more power will end up paying a higher amount”

    This guy is a genius....

  • rate this

    Comment number 297.

    Incredible piece of 'holier than thou' advice from EDF, making out that it is a major flag waver in the call for price simplification.

    Coop Energy, launched over two years ago, has been banging on about this way before it became a government directive or indeed anything EDF was prepared to launch.

  • rate this

    Comment number 296.

    SSE have been doing this for over a year already. All tariffs are now a single rate system with no tiers, and everyone pays the same standing charge no matter where you live.

  • rate this

    Comment number 295.

    Nationalise all energy and run them for the benefit of the people instead of for mainly foreign companies and their shareholders.

  • rate this

    Comment number 294.

    UK energy prices are mostly determined by supply & demand in World markets, not the UK government or Ofgen. We should be using more coal as World prices have dropped & build more 'clean' UK coal power stations. The UK has over 500 years supply of coal & lots of shale gas - wonderful national assets for generations to come.

  • rate this

    Comment number 293.

    We just need the last 12 months energy used in klwts for both gas and elect. and then a search engine that compares what the other companies would charge for the same usage and for them to show them all to show the rate per unit used ....none of this 'one rate for so much' and then another rate for the next amount used and fixed sums etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 292.

    Would that work out like the whole price matching scheme in supermarkets? We know what that is. Price Matching = legal "Price Fixing"

    And now an energy company which was privatised with excuse that competition was the best thing since sliced bread now wishes to have one price?

    Why not re-nationalise this industry instead and get one price?

    Dare I say it beggars belief?

  • rate this

    Comment number 291.

    I have to ask myself whether the one price tariff is a yet another smoke screen. Most of the companies are happy with the prices confusion that they create. Ofgem are a waste of time. Do they work for the consumer or the Utility companies as their comments seem to suggest? One price for gas and one for electricity. They can then put apply discounts for dual fuel, paperless billings etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 290.

    So they can make little profit even loses,but somewhere to their liking along the chain they can extoll their whole profit,that is why some refineries hardly make a profit which can force labour cost down,if the accountant or purchaser price set is too low they have to seek permission to buy,this could got all the way back to their bank,who could pull the plug,sinking the factory/refinery

  • rate this

    Comment number 289.

    286. dave
    Right. What surprised me was finding energy costs way cheaper in France. They have far more consumer protection than we do.
    Ironic French companies can do here what they don't get away with on the continent.
    Helps that they don't 100% run the French media, so it backs the public, not just big money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 288.

    262 big picture_viewer
    264 chrisk50
    The oil is still on the market,traded almost from the time the oil field is found, on different markets until it is sold at the pumps or Cans/barr els of other refined products,that's why coffee growers say they get a poor price the market can control were &amount any mark up is made,so if at sea,could help with tax avoidance,stop overs etc

  • rate this

    Comment number 287.

    With "petrol pricing", what discount will I get with a voucher from the stupormarket?

    With "petrol pricing", will I get some glasses to replace the ESSO ones that are getting rather few in number?

  • rate this

    Comment number 286.

    If we re nationalised our utilities France would be very upset as if it comes out of a tap or plug they now own it what fools we have been

  • rate this

    Comment number 285.

    Some clown on TV saying that what the consumer wants is "Choice".

    What the consumer really wants is "Competition".

    Failing that, "Nationalisation".

  • rate this

    Comment number 284.

    253.Sally says you are free

    I need to be informed to make a good choice. The confusion of rates stifles competition by preventing us from making informed choices.

    telling you you should be free to decide how spend your own wages is selfish.


    When you can run a greengrocer as well as the they do down the road from me, then you may be fitted to tell us how to do things.

  • rate this

    Comment number 283.

    Renationalise, Renationalise them all.
    Profits to the People
    not the Greedy, Selfish, Rich Few

  • rate this

    Comment number 282.

    EDF Energy calls for 'petrol station forecourt' pricing

    If the energy Companys are in favour of this system, you can bet your bottom Dollar they will win and their customers will lose.

  • Comment number 281.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 280.

    These things could be very simple but are deliberately made complicated for one simple reason .... to get more money out of people without them really knowing it . If the government want to help Joe Public , manage energy and fuel costs , attack the fraudsters and inflated costs associated with insurance claims , attack interest rates on credit and store cards and these things will help all .


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