Major energy suppliers have scrapped controversial tariffs that denied their existing customers their cheapest prices, amid speculation over a political crackdown on the sector, the Telegraph has learnt.
Four of the “Big Six” suppliers – E.ON, SSE, EDF and Npower – and the leading independent supplier, First Utility, all offered their best tariffs exclusively to new customers at certain points during the last month.
The practice, which saw existing customers denied savings of more than £200 a year in some cases, was widely condemned as unfair by consumer campaigners.
But all five firms have now withdrawn the exclusive tariffs following the furore, with the last being removed from the market on Friday, market analysis shows.
While sources at the major suppliers insisted the tariffs had only ever been intended to run temporarily – and did not rule out launching such offers in the future – their withdrawal coincides with mounting industry rumours that the Government is preparing to intervene to tackle perceived problems in the market.
Theresa May used her party conference speech to condemn the fact that “two-thirds of energy customers are stuck on the most expensive tariffs” and sources say officials have been examining the differentials of about £300 that exist between standard tariffs and the best deals.
The raft of “new customer only” deals came about after the Competition and Markets Authority recommended the lifting of tariff restrictions earlier this year to encourage competition, but has been criticised as unfair.