Power of adverts (in UK)
In Scotland and I guess rest of the UK power companies are heavily advertising at the moment. For the past few weeks here Scottish Power and Scottish Gas (brand name of Centrica) have adverts that use price as a selling issue despite being the more expensive of the companies. I think they might be fair to try sell on being trusted or customer service but even there they don’t come out on top in surveys. They also sell idea of fixing prices over five years letting viewer assume that further price rise likely but in that time scale it is generally expected by those who understand gas market that prices will drops as new pipeline to European mainland comes on stream and changes in regulation of gas market in europe reduce prices to UK after a few years.
Anyway there are several services to compare utility prices, and watchdog energywatch publishes the various price comparisons.
Also I notice many people understandably use 118118 for directory enquiries due to it’s heavy and in my view annoying adverts, or other widely advertised numbers. 118114 by phone coop is what I recommend it is cheaper than most.
Word of mouth can conteract the distorting of consumer choices by adverts where expensive previous monopoly providers keep market share. The bloggosphere is a wider word of mouth network. I have for a few years put such links up on my homepage as I would some times mention to people in conversation recommendations and then be able to just point them to my home page. I may well just start doing blog entries for updates especially if recomendations likely to go out of date.