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Switching suppliers, not fracking, key to lower energy bills says Energy Advice Line

7 September 2013

Switching suppliers will remain the best way to keep energy bills low following a warning that fracking in the UK is unlikely to drive down domestic gas prices, according to the Energy Advice Line.

Lord Nicholas Stern, one of the world's foremost climate change experts, has questioned government claims that the controversial shale gas drilling technique known as fracking will "help families with their bills".

Lord Stern, who led a review on the economics of global warming, told the Independent newspaper the government's claims were "baseless" because the UK had different geological, legal and regulatory conditions than the US, where there had been a shale gas boom.

Julian Morgan, managing director of the Energy Advice Line, the UK's leading price comparison, switching and advice service for business, said energy consumers should not view shale gas as a magic bullet for rising energy costs.

"Lord Stern's comments highlight the uncertainty about the impact shale gas will have on UK energy prices," Mr Morgan said.

"The ramifications of fracking, from the impact on the environment right through to the effect on gas prices, remain uncertain and consumers would be unwise to put their faith in shale gas as a means of keeping a lid on energy prices.

"Although the government appears to be rushing to shale gas technology as the answer to the UK's energy problems, there are still major questions to be answered and a thorough analysis needs to be done.

"Domestic and business energy consumers would be best served concentrating on the here and now by reducing their energy consumption and making sure they are getting the best available energy deal on the market.

"Both these strategies cost nothing and have a proven impact on energy bills."

Last month, as anti-fracking protests took place at Balcombe in West Sussex, Prime Minister David Cameron wrote: “If we don’t back this technology, we will miss a massive opportunity to help families with their bills … Fracking has real potential to drive energy bills down.”

Lord Stern said of the comments: “It’s a bit odd to say you know that it will bring the price of gas down. That doesn’t look like sound economics to me. It’s baseless economics.”

Mr Morgan said the best way to keep energy bills down was to use an independent and reputable price comparison and switching service to analyse available energy tariffs to find the best and cheapest on the market.

He said it was widely acknowledged by energy experts including regulator OFGEM that switching suppliers regularly was one of the most effective ways to keep energy bills low.

"It can be complex to shop the market as an individual or business owner, but it's actually very simple when you use a service like ours. We also handle the whole switching process so consumers can save themselves that headache. Plus, the service is free so there is nothing to lose but significant potential savings to make."

The Energy Advice Line is the UK's leading impartial comparison, switching and advice service for businesses and householders. It actively campaigns for reform of the UK's energy market to boost competition, get consumers a better deal from suppliers and lower energy prices.

The Energy Advice Line's price comparison and switching service is free and completely impartial. Consumers can obtain energy quotes with a few computer strokes based on a diverse panel of energy suppliers including the major players and smaller independent utility companies.

For further information visit www.energyadviceline.org.uk

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