There was some positive news at last this week from the energy companies. First the mighty British Gas agreed to simplify its charging structure to just two tariffs. Surprisingly they won't be giving customers the choice of – as one wag put it – freezing or going bankrupt.
Instead the firm is cutting back its tariffs to a simple choice between variable and fixed. It also promised to provide customers with a breakdown of all the costs that make up their bills.
It's about time the firm – which remains Britain's biggest energy supplier – started to think about the way it treats customers. This summer alone it increased gas prices by 18 per cent and electricity prices by 16 per cent. That move cost its customers an average of an extra £200 a year.
It's also worth bearing in mind that more than 70 new tariffs have been launched this year by energy firms. That leaves us being confronted with a choice of 400 different tariffs. I know we should welcome choice, but not when it becomes too complex and difficult to choose.