Energy and Climate Change CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by Mr D Shah

Prices

I believe that the issue of energy prices is very complex, therefore the Govt./Regulator must have very competent and experienced people who understand energy markets. Only then the energy Co’s can be held responsible for their actions. Rules and regulations can be enacted and enforced.

OFGEM should have appropriate powers of enforcement.

Profits

Bills are always going up. Part of the problem is profits, and lack of competition, transparency. Consumers are therefore reluctant to switch. All major suppliers are the same. Customer service is very poor. If you write to them, they do not reply. Phone them then incorrect info. is given out. To get some form of redress is very difficult. Therefore public just give up. Public just do not have the expertise to take them on. Unfortunately regulators are not helpful as well. On 16 Nov 12 British Gas put up prices be 6%, which is not mentioned in the Bill which was received in Jan 13. Prices have increased, I have got new format Bill 4 pages which is as confusing as ever. They give all sorts of figures which do not tie-up. It is basically a nightmare, I do not know how many thousands of pounds extra I may have paid over the years.

This is what is going on with banks. PPI, Libor Rate, Interest Rate Swaps, Investments, the list goes on and on. Vast majority of public just do not understand all these. Even those who understand are also duped. This is how Gas Co’s. tariffs work; confusing.

Fuel Poverty

The latest Bill I have received is for £453.58 for Q. St. Period 10.10.12 to 9–1-13. It is eyewatering, we are a couple only and it is a 3 Bed Small Semi. Both are pensioners. It is double-glazed. With all other expenses we manage to keep afloat. Unfortunately because of severe weather conditions we have to keep warm and use energy. It is a essential commodity. Finally the Customer Service of British Gas is very poor. It is a National Icon yet service is very very poor. I have experienced it first hand.

I conclude here and hope my submission may be helpful to committee and bring about some positive changes/outcome.

I thank you all for your time, trouble and giving me the opportunity to express myself, my opinions and views.

P.S. If you would like, I will be happy to send you my latest GAS BILL original for you to see and then return.

February 2013

Prepared 26th July 2013