A straightforward test to see whether consumers can calculate an energy bill correctly has thrown up some shock results – with 86% of people getting it wrong. Of more than 2,700 people taking part almost 2,400 failed to make the bill add up correctly, even though they were allowed to make notes and use a calculator.
The test is being run by uSwitch.com, the independent price comparison and switching service, and is based on a mock-up of an energy bill with sub-totals blanked out. Consumers have to work out the missing numbers and calculate the end total. So far, it has left most people flummoxed. Despite being a common household bill only 379 people have arrived successfully at the correct total – a pass rate of only 14%.
Now more consumers are being urged to take part to see if they can do any better. The test can be found at: www.uSwitch.com/bill-challenge. People can also sign a petition for energy bills to be made simpler, clearer and easier:http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/betterbills/ – over 7,000 concerned consumers have already signed.
Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com, says: “You shouldn’t need to be an ‘A’ grade student to be able to understand your energy bills. It’s deeply worrying that only 14% of people have passed what should be a straightforward test – it serves to highlight the fact that large numbers of consumers are in danger of being excluded because energy bills are far more complicated than they need to be. Ofgem is looking to address this, but it’s vital that consumers make their voices heard too.”