David Cameron's proposed energy reforms have been dealt a blow as the boss of one of the big six energy suppliers has suggested that plans to automatically place customers on their cheapest deal could be too difficult to implement.
Keith Anderson, chief corporate officer for ScottishPower, when giving evidence to the Energy Bill Committee in Parliament said: ""At its highest level it sounds perfectly sensible and laudable to say, 'let's put everybody on the cheapest tariff'. But you start to look at the detail and it becomes very complicated and it's very difficult."
Mr. Anderson also suggested that the logistics of identifying each individual customer's cheapest deal would be tricky, because of the intricacies of different energy tariffs and customer usage.
He said: "They actually have to sign to say that they want that tariff. There are a lot of complications that need to be worked through in terms of the mechanics of how it would work. And a lot of complications around the terms of what is the cheapest for that person, because that's not always easy to work out either."
For hard-pressed consumers across the UK who have been hit hard by price rises this will be a concern, as people are often confused about all of the options available when choosing a gas and electricity supplier. The best resource for those looking to see all of the cheapest deals available to them is not to wait for potential legislation but to use a price comparison service which compares all of the suppliers and available tariffs.
Taking control of your energy costs by comparing suppliers yourself is imperative in order to beat the recent price rises.
Prices fixed until 30 June 2014. No cancellation fees.
* based on average dual fuel tariff costing £1,410 (Source: Energyhelpline January 8, 2013). All costs are for a yearly average usage dual fuel household paying by monthly direct debit. Average usage defined by Ofgem as 16,500 kWh p.a. of gas and 3,300 kWh p.a. of electricity.
10 of the biggest consumer rip-offs
"Telling customers which deal is cheapest is too difficult"
Using a mobile phone to make and receive calls, send texts and browse the web while abroad can be extremely costly – especially if you are travelling outside the European Union (EU), where calls can cost up to 10 times as much as at home.
To avoid high charges, Carphone Warehouse suggests tourists ensure a data cap is in place, use applications to check data usage, turn off 'data roaming', avoid data-intensive applications such as Google Maps and YouTube and use wi-fi spots to update social networking sites.
Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) is supposed to help people to continue meeting their loan, mortgage or credit card repayments if they fall ill or lose their jobs. However, policies are often over-priced, riddled with exclusions and sold to people who could not make a claim if they needed to.
At one point, sale of this cover - which was often included automatically in loan repayments - was estimated to boost the banks' profits by up to £5 billion a year.
Now, though, consumers who were mis-sold PPI can fight back by complaining to the bank or lender concerned and taking their case to the Financial Ombudsman Service (08000 234567) should the response prove unsatisfactory.
It could be you, but let's face it, it probably won't be. In fact, buying a ticket for the Lotto only gives you a 1 in 13.9 million chance of winning the jackpot.
With odds like that, you would almost certainly be better off hanging on to your cash and saving it in a high-interest account.
No-frills airlines such as EasyJet may promote rock-bottom prices on their websites. But the overall fare you pay can be surprisingly high once extras such as luggage and credit card payment fees have been added - a process known as drip pricing.
Taking one piece of hold baggage on a return EasyJet flight, for example, adds close to £20 to the cost of your flight, while paying by credit card increases the price by a further £10.
It may therefore be worth comparing the total cost with that of a flight with a standard airline such as British Airways.
Cash advances, which include cash withdrawals, are generally charged at a much higher rate of interest than standard purchases.
While the average credit card interest rate is around 17%, a typical cash withdrawal of £500, for example, is charged at more than 26%.
What's more, as the interest accrues from the date of the transaction, rather than the next payment date, costs will mount up even if you clear your balance in full with your next payment.
Supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda often run promotions under which you can, for example, get three products for the price of two.
However, it is only worth taking advantage of these deals if you will actually use the products. Otherwise, you are simply buying for the sake of it, which is a waste of your hard-earned cash.
Buy a train ticket at the station on the day of travel and the price is likely to give you a shock - especially if you are travelling a long distance at a busy time of day.
However, you can cut the cost of train travel by 50% or more by going online and making the purchase beforehand - especially if you book 12 weeks in advance, which is when the cheapest tickets are on sale.
Other ways to reduce the price you pay include avoiding peak times and taking advantage of so-called carnet tickets, which allow you to buy, for example, 12 journeys for the price of 10.
Most High Street banks offer packaged accounts that come with monthly fees ranging from £6.50 up to as much as £40, with a typical account charging about £15 per month.
Various benefits, such as travel insurance and mobile phone insurance, are offered in return for this fee. But whether or not it is worth paying for them depends on your individual circumstances.