You are here: Home - Household Bills - News -

Government wrongly tells millions to switch energy tariff

Written by: Emma Lunn
10/11/2021 (MSE) has accused the government of wrongly advising 10 million people to switch their energy tariffs – as doing so would result in them paying more for their energy.

The website claims that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) posted out letters to people likely to be eligible for Winter Fuel Payments, many of whom will be vulnerable.

The letters featured what MSE says is “incorrect and financially damaging wording” on the reverse of the envelopes that encourages switching energy tariff to save “an extra £290”. People were then told to contact Citizens Advice for more information.

But people who switch energy tariff now could be lured into expensive fixed rate tariffs that will cost them more than they are paying now. Whereas those who do nothing will either be on, or eventually be moved to, their provider’s default standard variable tariff, and be protected by the energy price cap.

The DWP wouldn’t confirm how many envelopes had already been sent out, but insists it will keep sending them with the same wording despite being contacted by MSE about the error. It said the envelope batch was “created before the rise in energy prices” and would have been “impractical, costly and wasteful” to replace.

Martin Lewis, founder of, said: “We are in an extreme energy bill crisis. The logic of how to manage bills has been turned on its head. There has never been a time when clarity of message and action is more important. That’s why the government mailing out an incorrect message to millions of people, including many of the nation’s most vulnerable, is too big a risk to take.

“The right move for most people right now is to do nothing – don’t switch. That’s because if you do nothing, you’ll either be on, or automatically moved to your provider’s default standard variable tariff, which is priced capped. The price cap forces energy firms to sell energy at below its cost price – there is no meaningfully cheaper option.

“Due to the obvious hit to their finances, many big energy providers are trying to persuade people to move off those tariffs to fixed deals at premiums often far higher than 30%. They are using all the marketing tricks in the book to do it, and playing on the fact that until now that has been the right option. This is why this back of the envelope message, which seems to confirm that switching is the right move, is so dangerous – it adds a halo to the message from the energy firms to get people to switch.”

There are 0 Comment(s)

If you wish to comment without signing in, click your cursor in the top box and tick the 'Sign in as a guest' box at the bottom.

Big flu jab price hikes this winter: Where’s cheapest if you can’t get a free vaccine?

Pharmacies, supermarkets and health retailers are starting to offer flu jabs ahead of the winter season, but t...

Is now the time to fix your energy deal?

Fixed energy tariffs all but disappeared during the energy crisis. But now they are back with an increasing nu...

Everything you need to know about the pension triple lock

Retirees are braced to receive another bumper state pension pay rise next year due to the triple lock mechanis...

What will happen if rates change

How your finances will be impacted by a rise in interest rates.

Regular Savings Calculator

Small regular contributions can build up nicely over time.

Online Savings Calculator

Work out how your online savings can build over time.

The best student bank accounts in 2023: Cash offers, tastecards and 0% overdrafts

A number of banks are luring in new student customers with cold hard cash this year – while others are compe...

DIY investors: 10 common mistakes to avoid

For those without the help and experience of an adviser, here are 10 common DIY investor mistakes to avoid.

Mortgage down-valuations: Tips to avoid pulling out of a house sale

Down-valuations are on the rise. So, what does it mean for home buyers, and what can you do?

Money Tips of the Week