Why isn’t CitizEn Energy the cheapest on the market?
We offer fair and consistent prices to all, whether you are an existing customer or not. We always offer the most competitive price available and it remains largely consistent throughout the year.
Some companies you see at the top of the comparison sites are using their large Standard Variable Tariff bases, of whom pay the most expensive prices and generally haven’t switched for years if at all, to subsidise cheaper online prices for new customers.
We don’t have a large Standard Variable Tariff base to take “advantage of” so to speak, because, unlike other suppliers, we actively contact and encourage all customers off these prices onto cheaper deals. Only around 10% of our base are on Standard Variable Tariffs compared to upwards of 60% for the majority of the Big 6. So, we don’t penalise those loyal or vulnerable customers who haven’t switched and those disengaged in the energy market in order to help fund cheap acquisition prices.
It’s an ethical and moral point of view, but one we believe in.
In fact, in Feb 2019, The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published a paper called “Consumer vulnerability: challenges and potential solutions”, in response to a ‘super-complaint’ made into a subject called the ‘loyalty penalty’. The complaint focused on how longstanding customers pay more than new customers for the same services, and found that these longstanding customers can often be vulnerable people.
As part of this the CMA made specific reference to the energy market.
In their investigation of the energy market, the CMA found that over 50% of people who had been on an expensive default tariff for more than three years either did not have access to the internet or did not feel confident using price comparison websites. That’s why we have a range of channels where customers can come and talk to us about their energy needs. We don’t solely rely on the internet for sales, we also have a community and face to face presence. They also found that, of the respondents to their survey, people who were less likely to have switched supplier in the last 3 years were consumers with any of the following characteristics:
- Household incomes under £18,000 a year
- Living in rented social housing
- Without qualifications
- Aged 65+
- With a disability
- On the Priority Services Register
So, we might not be the cheapest on the market. But we champion the people, ensure customers fully understand what they are signing up to, and if they are paying more than they should be we actively engage with them to find them a better price.
If you want evidence of this, the latest figures that Ofgem released (click here) show what percentage of an energy supplier’s customer base is on Standard Variable Tariffs. As you can see, those offering very cheap deals on price comparison sites also have the highest amount of customers on Standard Variable Tariffs. We have around 10% on these products and work hard every day to ensure we drive that figure lower.
So, if you are looking for a company that offers fair and transparent prices for all customers then CitizEn Energy is your answer. We believe we are the missing piece of the energy industry puzzle, helping to redress the balance in the energy industry in favour of the customer and championing the public’s right to access fairly-priced energy. Our focus remains on tackling fuel poverty and reaching the 60% of the market that remain disengaged, so we can offer them a cheaper and better solution to the traditional Big 6.