Utilities

Special care is needed when considering price savings claims by gas, electricity or water companies. Copy with comparative savings claims need full substantiation. All such claims must be fully qualified.
If a utility company claims to have cut costs, Radiocentre needs to know whether it is for all customers and on all tariffs, e.g. “we have brought down our costs for all domestic customers”. If an offer does not apply to all customers, the word “all” will need to be removed; if the offer only applies to certain customers, this will need to be stated in a tag, e.g. “excludes low users”.
Copy may claim “you could save £x” if at least 10% of customers can achieve these savings.
If an offer is dependent on a specific level of usage of the service, this must be indicated in a tag, e.g. “price reduction based on a typical annual consumption of 3300 kWh on our domestic tariff”. If specific price savings are available only to customers who pay by direct debit, this should also be qualified in the copy.
The same principles apply when making comparative claims. If a utility company claims to offer a cheaper service than a competitor, it must be clear whether all customers will always save money against the competitor, or whether certain conditions apply. Any important limitation relating to the price saving must be qualified specifically, e.g. “savings for high users only”. “For conditions, contact…” is not sufficient.
Savings comparisons between utility companies must always be made on a like-for-like basis. Methods of payment should be compared fairly, e.g. savings via direct debit schemes should be compared against comparable direct debit schemes by competitors, rather than against the competitor’s quarterly payment schemes.
See the Ofgem website for help in proving money-savings claims.

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