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Consumers still don’t understand energy bills – uSwitch

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Six in 10 consumers don’t understand their energy bill and a price comparison site is calling for suppliers and the regulator to simplify them.

A new survey by uSwitch has found that customers rate energy bills as the most confusing, above those from water and phone companies, mortgage and credit lenders or even councils.

Young consumers have the lowest level of bill comprehension, with 68% of those aged 18-35 admitting they don’t fully understand their energy bill, compared with 62% of those aged 35-54, and just over half of those ages 55 and over.

The news comes two years after energy regulator, Ofgem, introduced a number of reforms to make bills easier to understand, including a requirement to provide details of the supplier’s cheapest tariff.

But the survey of 2,000 people revealed that nearly half (48%) said they’ve seen no difference to bills and 51% said they don’t recall seeing information about a cheaper deal.

And of those who know of this rule, less than half switched which uSwitch said suggests that more can be done to prompt consumers away from expensive energy plans.

Over a quarter of those surveyed admitted they don’t bother checking the details on their energy bill beyond the amount they have to pay.

Further, with the high level of misunderstanding, many miss important information, including whether the bill is based on an estimated meter reading or if the account’s in credit.

Simplify overcomplicated bills

uSwitch is calling for Ofgem, together with energy suppliers, to push forward with plans to simplify overcomplicated energy bills.

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at, said: “The confusion around bills is a problem that must be tackled if consumers are to get in control of their energy use and spend. If they can’t make sense of their bill, customers could be missing out on better deals or risk bill shock by accumulating significant debt.

“Given that Ofgem’s reforms – which were designed to give clearer information to customers – came in two years ago, it’s worrying that so many remain baffled and bewildered by their bills. We’re urging Ofgem and suppliers to press ahead with plans to make bills easier to understand, making it simpler for consumers to use less, waste less and pay less for energy.”

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