Fear and confusion continue to drive customers away from Big Six energy suppliers


Big Six logo montageBy DARA BUTTERFIELD

Small suppliers gained 84,471 electricity accounts last month, which is a quarter of all switches for the period.

The latest electricity switching data shows 335,826 households chose a new supplier in April 2015, which is up from the same period last year. This month’s figures have brought the number of switches up to over 1.2 million for the year to date.

Lawrence Slade, Chief Executive, Energy UK, commented: “It is great to see hundreds of thousands of households continuing to take advantage of the wide range of deals on offer by switching electricity supplier.

“This month’s continued momentum is particularly positive given last month’s extraordinary figures were supported by government’s Power to Switch advertising campaign. “We urge people who haven’t switched before to looking around to find the best deals to suit them. There are now more suppliers than ever to choose from.”

Attracted by often better value deals from smaller suppliers, retail and commercial consumers alike are also often distrustful of the Big Six energy suppliers and are further deterred by the complexity of tariffs and the suspicion  that they are not always offered the best deal from established suppliers .

Indeed, in a recent survey by Utilitywise, 60% of businesses were unable to identify that E or A readings mean estimated or actual, whilst a quarter (25%) did not understand the term unit rate.

The issue doesn’t appear to be confined small businesses of 1 to 49 employees; almost the same proportion of those employing 50 to 249 staff reported that they too don’t have the skills they need to make sense of their regular statements.

Andrew Richardson, Deputy Chief Executive, Utilitywise, said: “Businesses need help to navigate the energy market. That starts with understanding your statements. The terminology can be confusing, but it’s important to get a handle on it because it impacts a business’ bottom line: if you don’t know that you’re paying an estimated bill you can be in for a nasty surprise.”

The survey also revealed that as many as 2.19 million businesses never, or only occasionally, check their energy bills – despite the fact that three-quarters of SMEs believe they pay too much for their utilities.

Read the full electricity switching report for April on the Energy UK website.


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