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Price comparison websites charge £30 per switch


Energy comparison websites earn up to £30 in commission every time someone uses their site to switch provider. This doubles to £60 when customers change both electricity and gas accounts.

MPs on the Energy Select Committee recently questioned the heads of five price comparison websites, after the industry was recently accused of lack of transparency. Some sites have been suspected of “hiding” deals that do not make the sites any money, even if they may have been better value for the customer.

The price comparison sites have said that the fees they apply are justified. Moneysupermarket said it charged energy suppliers £29 on average, which was fair. Steven Weller, the chief executive of USwitch, said that they charged £30 on average. The MPs also heard about the average profits each company was making. The most profitable - Compare the Market - was making £69.7m a year.

The regulator, Ofgem, is set to introduce new rules for price comparison sites, after accusations of hiding the best deals from some customers. The new rules mean the websites will have to show all deals on offer, including those that did not earn the site commission. Most of the sites have promised to conform with the new rules, although some say they already do so.

John Robertson, a Labour member of the Committee, said:
“There seems to be some kind of ethos in the energy market that says, 'I want to rip off every person I get hold of'."

Peter Plumb, the chief executive of Moneysupermarket, said:
"The fees are required to fund the price comparison sites. We are not a simple computer programme.
"We have to spend money on technology, and we have to spend money on marketing"

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