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Andrew Daniel

Andrew leads our Operational Team and is our expert when it comes to all the ins and outs of car hire excess insurance.

Energy firms to be forced to offer customers lowest tariffs

David Cameron announced plans to force energy companies to put their customers on the best rates. Don't wait for new laws, get on the best rates now.

During the Prime Minister's questions yesterday, David Cameron announced new legislation to force energy firms to give their customers their cheapest tariff yesterday.

No further details were forthcoming from the PM so we'll have to wait until the forthcoming Energy Bill for more information about how the system might work.

The announcement has received a mixed reception. Ann Robinson of uSwitch.com said:

"This has to be a mistake – the unintended consequences would be to kill competition. Consumers will be left with Hobson's choice – there will be no spur, no choice, no innovation and no reason for consumers to engage any more.”

Stephen Fitzpatrik from Ovo Energy welcomed the news and speaking on Radio 4′s Today programme said the announcement was "great news” for consumers and would help break the "stranglehold” of the big six energy companies.

Neil Bentley, director-general of the CBI was less keen on the increasingly politicised debate over the UK's energy supplies and was concerned this could scare off potential investors in the power sector. The CBI is asking the government for "less politics, more policy” to encourage growth.

Whatever happens, don't expect any changes soon though. The Energy Bill has to be finalised (or possibly completely rewritten after yesterday's announcement!), get passed in parliament and energy companies will need time to become compliant.

Perhaps of more immediate relevance was Mr Cameron's initial response to the question raised by Labour MP Chris Williamson asking how his commitment to take action to help people reduce their energy bills was going. Mr Cameron replied:

"Well, we've encouraged people to switch which is one of the best ways to get your energy bills down.”

We couldn't agree more, though according to Reuters only 15% of households actually do switch energy suppliers in search of better rates. In a way, those 15% are cherry picking the best rates and being subsidised by the other 85%. Make sure you're one of them by using the MoneyMaxim energy comparison site.