EDF Energy shakes up a beleaguered energy market

EDF Energy has thrown down the gauntlet to the other Big Six suppliers by launching a new tariff that, according to the company, will focus firmly on the needs of both the consumer and the environment.

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The new deal, which will be rolled out under the name “Blue +Price Promise”, will include a low price, low carbon fuel and no termination fee if customers switch. And, in an unprecedented move, EDF Energy will inform customers if a better deal becomes available – even if it’s from a competitor.

So could this signal the start of more competitive pricing in the energy market? Here we take a look at the deal in more detail…

Low price guarantee

Last November saw EDF Energy become the last of the Big Six to put up its prices, imposing a 15.4% increase on gas and a 4.5% rise on electricity prices.

In 2012, it has become the first to cut its gas prices, and anyone who takes on the Blue +Price Promise tariff will now benefit from what is currently the second cheapest deal offered by any of the main providers.

The EDF Energy deal has an average combined gas and electricity bill of £1,054.54 per year, which is just £0.47 more expensive than npower’s market-leading Go Fix11 duel fuel tariff.

However, EDF Energy has also stipulated that there will be no price increases until at least September 2013, which is four months longer than the npower deal.

Low carbon energy

EDF Energy is also pledging to be a more environmentally friendly energy provider by guaranteeing that any electricity its customers use will be from low-carbon generation (from its nuclear power stations).

In a further bid to do its bit for the planet EDF Energy is also offering customers the chance to offset their gas carbon emissions by making a small donation to the CarbonNeutral Company.

 

Price promise

The most ground-breaking aspect of the new tariff, and the one that could potentially bring back some consumer confidence in the energy industry, is EDF Energy’s promise to keep customers informed about any better deals that become available, even if the deal is offered by one of its competitors.

If another energy company introduces a tariff that is at least £1.00 per week cheaper than the Blue +Price Promise tariff, then EDF Energy will inform customers via email or letter and give them the opportunity to switch.

In another customer-led move, EDF Energy is also scrapping any contract cancellation fees, which means that all customers can leave whenever they wish without having to pay a penalty charge.

However, it is worth noting that this is based upon typical usage and not tailored to fit each customer so it is still recommended that you shop around to find the best deal to suit your circumstances.

Automatic discounts for elderly and ‘in need’ customers

In addition to its price promise, EDF Energy will be making a further commitment to those customers that are considered to be most in need, such as the elderly, who will automatically benefit from the cheapest tariff rate at any given time.

This means that those customers who are most in need will be given a rebate on their bill and so will not need to pay more than they would have if they’d been on the cheapest tariff. In addition, these customers will also benefit from direct debit discounts, regardless of how they pay their bills.

Customer rewards scheme

EDF Energy will also be putting in place a loyalty scheme that will offer customers rewards such as vouchers and event tickets for keeping them as their energy supplier.

Winning back customer confidence

It’s been open season on the major energy providers in recent months as they have been criticised from far and wide for not doing enough to help their customers save money on their energy bills.

This criticism has come as a direct result of significant price increases and because of poor performance in terms of customer service and satisfaction. This double whammy  has seen the relationship between the energy providers and their customers stretched to the limit.

However, this latest initiative from EDF Energy suggests that customer concerns have been taken on board and addressed. It could prove to be the catalyst for more customer-led initiatives across the energy industry.

It is often the case that, where one energy provider leads, the rest soon follow, so it will be interesting to see how the other providers react to this move.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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