I'd rather be stung by a wasp than ripped off by my energy provider - 10 nasty things people prefer to new customer-only tariffs

  • Energy regulator Ofgem is considering letting energy suppliers offer cheaper tariffs ONLY to new customers
  • This ‘tease and squeeze’ approach saw millions of loyal customers subsidise ‘cut prices’ for new customers only
  • A new YouGov survey shows nine out of ten (89%) respondents agreed that their energy supplier should offer them the same discounted prices given to new customers
  • Octopus reveals the top ten things that customers prefer to new customer-only tariffs – and joins industry figures in calling for Ofgem to keep the ban

London, 21st May 2024 – Ofgem has recently announced it is considering allowing new customer-only (known in the industry as ‘acquisition-only’) tariffs back to the market – cheap deals available only for new customers but not loyal ones.

These tariffs were banned in April 2022 to protect customers from volatile prices during the fossil fuel crisis. The ban was extended by Ofgem until March 2023, and then again for another year.

In a survey run by YouGov* 9 out of 10 (89%) respondents agreed that energy suppliers should offer the exact same deals to both new and existing customers.

An Octopus Energy survey reveals** the top ten things people prefer over ‘new customer-only’ tariffs:

🏠💸 1. Lack of affordable housing: Believe it or not, people are more stressed about unfair energy tariffs than sky-high rent and the impossibility of buying a home.

🔐🤯 2. Having to reset your password: The agony of constantly forgetting and resetting passwords is somehow more tolerable than the frustration of ‘new customer-only’ energy deals. Password managers, rejoice!

🐝🚫 3. Wasps: Those pesky stingers are actually preferable to the headache of unfair energy pricing, with only a little over half (62%) disliking them. Who knew wasp stings could be a welcome distraction?

😤🗣️ 4. Moaners: Only 57% of respondents dislike non-stop complainers. It turns out people would rather listen to endless moaning than face the injustice of unequal energy deals. Bring on the gripes.

🛒❗ 5. An unexpected item in the bagging area: That annoying error message at the self-checkout is more bearable than dealing with ‘new customer-only’ tariffs. Looks like shopping frustration wins!

🌧️☔ 6. Wet, rainy summers: Rain, rain, come again? Fewer people (55%) surveyed disliked enduring a soggy summer over the storm of unfair energy pricing. Sunshine can wait – fairness can’t.

🤧👃 7. Needing to sneeze but not quite sneezing: Ah-ah-ah...achoo? People would rather teeter on the edge of a sneeze than face the sneaky surprises of ‘new customer-only’ tariffs. Gesundheit, energy nightmares!

🕷️🙅‍♂️ 8. Spiders: Creepy crawlies to the rescue! Coming in well below unsustainable tariffs, just over half (54%) of people disliked the company of eight-legged critters over the headache of navigating through energy pricing shenanigans.

✍️😡 9. People writing "your" instead of "you're": Grammar police, assemble! Less than half (49%) of Brits would rather endure linguistic atrocities than tackle the tangled web of energy pricing inequality. Who needs proper grammar when you've got energy drama?

🤖💻 10. Having to prove you're not a robot on websites: Beep, boop, prove you're not a bot! Respondents would rather jump through digital hoops than grapple with the complexities of unfair energy tariffs. Looks like energy companies are the real puzzle here.

Rachel Fletcher, Director of Economics and Regulation, comments: “Octopus has long campaigned against tease and squeeze pricing, where loyal customers subsidise unsustainable cheap deals for new ones. This practice contributed to 30 energy companies going bust during the fossil fuel crisis.

“Ofgem's ban on ‘acquisition-only’ tariffs aimed for fair prices for all. Reintroducing them would mark a return to the ‘Wild West’, costing everyone more long-term.

“Instead, we need a transparent, fair market where suppliers compete on innovation, service and efficiency – delivering lower prices for all, not just a few.”

The latest stats from Electralink show that switching is returning to pre-crisis levels, suggesting the ban on ‘new customer-only’ tariffs and fair pricing isn’t stopping good deals from becoming available or customers from switching***.


Notes to editors:

* All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2011 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 16th - 17th May 2024. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

** These figures are from an Octopus Energy survey carried out on Friday 17th May 2024. Total sample size was 1600 adults. The survey was carried out online.

*** Electralink, 17th May 2024 (see source)

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Octopus Energy is a global clean energy tech business, driving the affordable, green energy system of the future. Under its own retail brand, Octopus delivers world-class customer service and cutting edge energy products to 7.8 million households globally. Its operations span 18 countries and the entire energy value chain. The group invests in, builds and flexibly manages renewable energy, operating a £7 billion portfolio of projects.

Octopus has licensed its advanced data and machine learning platform, Kraken, to support over 54 million customer accounts worldwide through licensing deals with companies such as EDF, E.ON and Origin Energy. Kraken enables Octopus to drive the electrification of heat and transport through smart tariffs and innovative cleantech. Backed by pension funds, investors and energy giants, Octopus Energy Group businesses deliver cheaper, greener energy and cutting-edge tech to countries and customers worldwide. For more information, check out our website.

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