Wind farm at sunset

So here we are, at the end of another busy year! Here’s my round up of 2009 and the big events that kept us busy here at uSwitch.

The first big news pieces in 2009 were the gas and electricity price cuts made by the big energy suppliers. British Gas kicked it off with a cut of 10% on their gas prices in February, which swiftly caused the other suppliers to follow in their footsteps. For all those of you on Standard energy plans, this was the only bit of good news to come from your energy suppliers in 2009 – pricing wise at least!

There was more exciting news in 2009 as large prices cuts were made to online energy plans. These reductions have, on average, far outweighed the cuts made to Standard plans. 2009 has also seen the arrival of new suppliers into the energy market; OVO energy and first:utility. Both suppliers are relatively new arrivals that have introduced new, competitively priced energy plans to the market. It was just the shake up it needed, as it encouraged other suppliers to match and beat the new, cheaper suppliers, a trend which may well extend into 2010 too. Watch this space….

In the meantime, we also found out more about plans for the UK rollout of smart meters. Smart meters are going to be the next big initiative, allowing customers to see how much energy they’re using and when, as well as ensuring they never get charged too much or too little for their energy bills. It’s all about empowering customers, and giving them control over what they spend. The shift to smart metering in the UK will be one of the biggest changes in the energy industry since the sixties, when it started using gas from the North Sea.

However, the future for energy bills is looking bleak. Over the next 10 years, consumers will be footing the bill for improvements in renewable energy generation, replacing old power plants, wider infrastructure upgrades and the rollout of smart metering. At uSwitch, we calculated that energy bills could reach as high as £5000 a year by 2020 as the costs for these improvements fall squarely on all of our shoulders.

In 2010, all households need to actively take measures to reduce their energy bills to avoid paying over the odds. As the world economy starts to pull itself out of recession and demand for energy starts to increase, wholesale prices are likely to increase rather than go down. This, paired with the cost of investment mentioned above, is only going to push bills upwards in the medium-term. Make sure you take energy efficiency measures where possible and compare gas and electricity prices regularly to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Why not leave a comment and let us know your highlights/low points of 2009, or if you’re looking forward to the roll out of smart meters in the UK?

Photo credit to: Michael Peterson via Flickr