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Living Costs
26 February 2024

Increasing insurance premiums – what are the causes?

We’ve been contacted by lots of you recently about spiralling insurance premiums – both for motor and household – and how they’re affecting you. We’re aware of this issue and how it’s affecting Islanders, as it is yet another cost-of-living increase for consumers to contend with. This isn't just a Jersey situation though, it's UK-wide, with premiums increasing across the board since 2022. In January 2022, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) introduced some new rules to stop insurers offering better deals to new customers. While this is good for those customers sticking with their ongoing policy, the rules don’t stop or cap the rise in policy costs, so in that respect it’s not good at all.  As a result, many Islanders have seen big increases in their premiums this year. Unfortunately, without a cap on the level of premium paid, the price of cover will fluctuate to reflect a range of factors, such as inflation, building costs, and setting claims due to storms, floods, and the like. The average premium for comprehensive cover on a motor vehicle in the UK has gone up by 58% from this time in 2022, according to Which? Magazine's March 2024 edition. In Jersey, your driver profile will include factors such as your age and your driving record, which influences what you pay for car insurance. Younger drivers have been hit more than most, with those aged under 24 being forced to pay out for premiums into the thousands in some cases. These premium increases will be affected by rising car repair costs. And disaster-related claims are also a significant reason why car insurance rates are surging for many drivers. We're not sure what the answer is. All we can advise is to keep shopping around, try to haggle where you can, and look out for tips using national consumer news organisations such as Which? magazine and Money Saving Expert. Their pages relate to the UK, but you can often pick up tips that are relevant to use in Jersey. You can also check out some of our recent stories on insurance: Which motor insurance providers currently provide cover in Jersey? (consumercouncil.je) Home Insurance (consumercouncil.je) Car Insurance (consumercouncil.je)
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Energy & Fuel
12 February 2024

Legal backing for gas outage claims help

A local lawyer has agreed to act for those Island Energy customers who were affected by October’s gas outage. Advocate Philip Sinel, Senior Partner at Sinels and Co, believes there has been a “clear breach of contract” between the gas provider and its customers, and that consumers have suffered losses or incurred extra costs as a result of having no gas supply to their homes – up to 14 days or more in some cases. He said: “Sinels is happy to act on behalf of those consumers affected by last year’s gas outage as, in our view, there has been a clear breach of contract. Losses have occurred, and as a result, the supplier should be liable for those in our view, and we will do our best to recover those losses for consumers.” More than 250 Island Energy customers who are unhappy with the £11.56 ‘goodwill gesture’ offered by Island Energy have so far registered with us. If you would like to be included in the action being taken by the Jersey Consumer Council and Sinels, please register below by completing this short online form. Please ensure that when you fill in this form you include an email and your Island Energy customer number: REGISTER HERE On 7 October a technical fault by Island Energy left around 4,000 Islanders without gas. This lasted for days - and in some cases up to 14 days - before the gas was returned to them. Had the energy provider been regulated – like in the UK - it would have had to pay £60 for every day a customer went without gas beyond the first 24 hours. Since then, Island Energy have increased the prices of gas by 12%, which is about £13.80 for an average family house. Whilst in Guernsey they raised the price by 8%. On 25 January, we were given word that Island Energy were giving customers a gesture of goodwill by refunding the standing charge for October, worth £11.56. Telephone: 01534 61161 Email: contact@consumercouncil.je
At Home
Energy & Fuel
09 February 2024

Island Energy gas outage survey

Please make sure you give us your email and Island Energy customer number as they will be needed for those wanting to be involved in any claim that we might secure. COMPLETE THE GAS SURVEY   Any Island Energy customers who are unhappy or dissatisfied with the £11.56 ‘goodwill gesture’ offered to households following the outage in October last year are being asked to get in touch with the Jersey Consumer Council. The Council is looking at what options it has available to try to secure the compensation Island Energy customers deserve or at least a refund of the costs many consumers incurred during the gas outage in October last year. To start that process, those impacted are being asked to complete a short online survey on consumercouncil.je to enable the Council to assess to what extent individual households were impacted. Chairman Carl Walker said: ‘We already know of Islanders who went without hot water, could not cook hot meals at home and could turn on their heating during the outage, so taking three months to come up with an offer of £11.56 is nothing short of an insult to its customers by Island Energy. “We will now work on behalf of all those affected to try and secure a better deal for them – and everything and anything is on the table at this stage. Once we know how many Islanders we will be representing, we shall choose the best course of action and do our very best.” On 7 October a technical fault by Island Energy left around 4,000 Islanders without gas. This lasted for days - and in some cases up to 14 days - before the gas was returned to them. Had the energy provider been regulated – like in the UK - it would have had to pay £60 for every day a customer went without gas beyond the first 24 hours. Since then, Island Energy have increased the prices of gas by 12%, which is about £13.80 for an average family house. Whilst in Guernsey they raised the price by 8%. On 25 January, we were given word that Island Energy were giving customers a gesture of goodwill by refunding the standing charge for October, worth £11.56. Dissatisfied Island Energy customers are asked to click on the link below and complete the survey as honestly as possible. If they know of any neighbours or relatives who do not have access to the internet but who were also affected by the outage, please visit those individuals or call them and complete the survey with them or on their behalf, so that we can get a fair picture of the situation. The survey will be open until Monday, 19 February 2024.
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Living Costs
Phone
05 February 2024

Another price increase is on the way...

If you’re a JT customer, your bills will be going up from 27 March.  The telecommunications company have announced that they’ll be increasing their prices by 7.5%, in line with the latest Retail Price Index.   This comes on the back of other household price increases, from Island Energy, Jersey Water and the Jersey Electricity Company, and will no doubt be worrying for some consumers.  If you’re concerned about your JT bills, you can contact them on 882882 and see whether a different contract might save you some money.  To see how the increases will affect various plans and services, check out their prices here:  JT RPI Price Increases - JT Global  As always, our advice would be to always shop around for the best prices and to check whether you're definitely on the best contract for your needs. 
At Home
Living Costs
01 February 2024

Amazon Prime Video introduce additional charge to avoid watching adverts

Amazon Prime customers will have to pay an additional £2.99 a month to avoid having to watch adverts on the Prime Video streaming service. Amazon has written to Prime customers to say that the change will come into effect from Monday, 5 February. If customers choose not to upgrade, they will instead have to watch adverts. Currently Prime Video costs £5.99 a month. It will now cost £8.98 to watch ad-free – the equivalent of a 50% increase. Viewers can sign up to get one month of the upgrade for free. Meanwhile, full Amazon Prime customers currently pay £8.99 a month, or £95 for the year upfront. To get rid of adverts, these customers will now need to pay £11.98 a month, or £130.88 for an annual membership. Amazon haven’t said when the adverts will be shown – whether they will be during the content you’re watching, or just before it – but they have said there will be  “meaningfully fewer ads than ad-supported TV channels and other streaming TV providers”.
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Energy & Fuel
Living Costs
17 January 2024

Gas prices to go up by 12%

Island Energy has announced that it will be increasing gas prices by 12% from the end of this month. The announcement comes just three months after a gas outage left customers with no gas for weeks following an Island-wide fault on Saturday 7 October. Customers are still waiting for an update on what compensation they will receive and when, following our calls for the gas provider to act responsibly and fairly to its customers in terms of compensation, and take on board the guidance and advice it would be operating under if it was regulated by the UK energy watchdog Ofgem. The price rise comes into effect on 31 January and will mean that the average household bill will see an increase of approximately £13.80 per month. Announcing the rise, Island Energy said: “The price rise is due to several factors. Inflationary pressures on operating and importation costs, high interest rates impacting on capital investment programme and continued volatility in wholesale market means that we need to implement a price increase. “The last increase in Jersey and Guernsey was November 2022.  A review of these prices will take place in six months' time with a view that if market conditions are favourable prices may change.” They added: “We know even the smallest increases can sometimes be exceedingly difficult for customers and we want to be as supportive as we can during this time, our customer services teams are here to help and can be reached on 01534 755500.”