Posted on 25th March 2019

Switching sites and fair prices

Two of the most common questions we’re asked are:

  • Why isn’t Robin Hood Energy on switching sites?
  • Why isn’t Robin Hood Energy the cheapest on the market?

These are great questions, so our Chief Executive Officer Gail Scholes explains below:

Why isn’t Robin Hood Energy on switching sites?

We are. You just need to expand your search to include all suppliers. Some of the cheaper deals are hidden unless you select to “view all suppliers”.

We’re not on the paid for section of these sites, which is the default view where the price comparison site switches you automatically, for one simple reason. We have to pay commission to be on there, in excess of £45 per switch, and we would much sooner pass these savings onto our customers.

Our growth strategy has always been to grow through Public Sector endorsement rather than price comparison sites and that’s why we have taken the Robin Hood Energy model to a number of other areas of the UK through local authority and council partnerships. We work with like-minded councils, with a range of political control and geographical locations, who have an agenda to tackle fuel poverty and address the unfairness within the energy market.

Why isn’t Robin Hood Energy the cheapest on the market?

We offer fair and consistent prices to all, whether you are an existing customer or not. We always offer the most competitive price available and it remains largely consistent throughout the year.

Some companies you see at the top of the comparison sites are using their large Standard Variable Tariff bases, of whom pay the most expensive prices and generally haven’t switched for years if at all, to subsidise cheaper online prices for new customers.

We don’t have a large Standard Variable Tariff base to take “advantage of” so to speak, because, unlike other suppliers, we actively contact and encourage all customers off these prices onto cheaper deals. Only 20% of our base are on Standard Variable Tariffs compared to upwards of 60% for the majority of the Big 6. So, we don’t penalise those loyal or vulnerable customers who haven’t switched and those disengaged in the energy market in order to help fund cheap acquisition prices.

It’s an ethical and moral point of view, but one we believe in.

In fact, only last month (Feb 2019) The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published a paper called “Consumer vulnerability: challenges and potential solutions”, in response to a ‘super-complaint’ made into a subject called the ‘loyalty penalty’. The complaint focused on how longstanding customers pay more than new customers for the same services, and found that these longstanding customers can often be vulnerable people.

As part of this the CMA made specific reference to the energy market.

In their investigation of the energy market, the CMA found that over 50% of people who had been on an expensive default tariff for more than three years either did not have access to the internet or did not feel confident using price comparison websites. That’s why we have a range of channels where customers can come and talk to us about their energy needs. We don’t solely rely on the internet for sales, we also have a community and face to face presence. They also found that, of the respondents to their survey, people who were less likely to have switched supplier in the last 3 years were consumers with any of the following characteristics:

  • Household incomes under £18,000 a year
  • Living in rented social housing
  • Without qualifications
  • Aged 65+
  • With a disability
  • On the Priority Services Register

So, we might not be the cheapest on the market. But we champion the people, ensure customers fully understand what they are signing up to and if they are paying more than they should be we actively engage with them to find them a better price.

If you want evidence of this, the latest figures that Ofgem released (click here) show what percentage of an energy supplier’s customer base is on Standard Variable Tariffs. As you can see, those offering very cheap deals on price comparison sites also have the highest amount of customers on Standard Variable Tariffs. We have less than 20% on these products and work hard every day to ensure we drive that figure lower.

So, if you are looking for a company that offers fair and transparent prices for all customers then Robin Hood Energy is your answer.  We believe we are the missing piece of the energy industry puzzle, helping to redress the balance in the energy industry in favour of the customer and championing the public’s right to access fairly-priced energy. Our focus remains on tackling fuel poverty and reaching the 60% of the market that remain disengaged, so we can offer them a cheaper and better solution to the traditional Big 6.

Top 10 Robin Hood Energy facts

  1. Customer numbers increased by 30%
  2. We supply over 1 in 10 households in Nottingham
  3. 65% increase in jobs in Nottingham during 2018
  4. Over 1,500 customers receiving a Warm Home Discount payment
  5. £202,000 trading surplus announced which was wholly reinvested back into our customers
  6. Less than 20% of our customer base on Standard Variable Tariffs
  7. 100% green electricity
  8. 10 White Label Partners, which are all serviced from Nottingham and provide a revenue stream to both the local authority outside of Nottingham and Robin Hood Energy
  9. One of the only energy companies to report a profit in the first 5 years of trading
  10. Voted the 2nd best for Customer Service in the UK in a recent survey.