Big six energy deal to benefit households and businesses

An agreement between the UK's 'big six' energy companies, meaning they will be required to tell customers if they are overpaying and allow them to switch to a better deal , is to cut the bills of millions of consumers and businesses, according to the Government and business groups.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said that the deal, which will cover 99 per cent of energy customers in the UK, will save households up to £100 a year when it is implemented in the autumn.

According to ministers, seven out of 10 consumers are on inefficient and costly tariffs due to nearly 120 different and complicated tariffs available on the market.

Announcing the move, Nick Clegg also alluded to the Government's Green Deal due to come into force in October this year, which will enable homes and businesses to recoup payments of energy efficient improvements through their energy bill. It is hoped the deal will reduce both carbon emissions and household and business energy bills.

Retailers, tradespeople, energy companies and investors supplying the improvements will also benefit from the deal, with the Government estimating it to support 100,000 jobs within five years.

Responding to Nick Clegg's speech Katja Hall, chief policy director of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said: "This pledge by energy companies is a positive step, which together with the Green Deal will make a real difference to the energy bills of consumers and businesses in difficult times.

"It's increasingly important to argue the case for our green economy in helping to deliver much-needed growth. Energy efficiency and a shift towards a low carbon economy will not only bring benefits in cost savings, but also provide opportunities for growth and investment.

"With the right policies in place, the Government can give investors the confidence they need to inject billions of pounds into our energy infrastructure and create thousands of jobs. The key is investor certainty and a new long-term industrial policy will be crucial to achieving this."