A third of UK consumers would like to receive verbal advice to help them switch energy suppliers, a survey by switching site Moneyexpert.com has revealed.
The research canvassed the views of over 2,000 UK adults and discovered that verbal support, either over the phone or face to face, would be valued by 29 per cent. Extrapolated over the entire UK population, this would put verbal advice on the wish lists of 7.9 million customers, said Moneyexpert.com.
Respondents over the age of 55 were especially keen to access face to face support to help them find the most competitive energy deals (33 per cent).
Moneyexpert.com’s survey also found that among those who have never switched supplier, 46 per cent do not know how their energy bill is calculated. Over a third (36 per cent) of all respondents said they think their bill is effected by the UK region they live in and one in five (18 per cent) are unaware that paying by direct debit can make a difference to how much they pay.
Confidence was higher among those who have switched supplier. Two-thirds (66 per cent) said they believe they do understand how their bill is calculated.
The findings come as a number of high profile price rises from large energy firms are due to hit. They also accompany a tense environment in which political parties vying for votes in the upcoming general election have promised energy price caps to stop excessive bills and customer detriment. Many industry leaders fear a cap would have unintended consequences on competition, bills and switching rates.
Read Utility Week’s analysis: “The Tory price cap: what do we know”
Commenting on his firm’s research, Mike Rowe, chief operations officer, at MoneyExpert.com urged all consumers to “shop around” for their energy” but acknowledged that “millions are not confident about moving”.
“Switching online suits most customers,” he said, “but it is clear that millions prefer guidance on how to and would welcome face-to-face or phone support on making the move.”
Rowe said this is “understandable” given the wide range of tariff options available.