The latest electricity switching figures from Energy UK show that more than half a million consumers (536,658) switched electricity supplier in March.
This is an increase of 13 per cent on last March and takes switching in 2017 to more than 1.3 million consumers.
Last month consumers switching from Britain’s ‘Big Six’ energy providers to small and mid-tier suppliers represented a third of all switches (35 per cent) -reaching just over 145,000.
Meanwhile, UK independent energy supply company, Flow Energy, has announced a partnership with Money Supermarket to launch a new energy tariff, Flow MSM Fixed, as part of a continued commitment to maintaining low and competitive prices for energy customers.
At a time when many energy providers have or are planning to raise their prices in the coming weeks and months, a typical user on a Big Six standard dual-tariff can currently expect to pay an average of £1,126 per year, with the highest reaching £1,187 a year. By fixing prices for 18 months, consumers will secure a competitive deal for a longer period of time.
For an Ofgem average user, the yearly cost for the Flow MSM Fixed would be £929 a year – the cheapest 18 month dual-fuel tariff currently on the market.
Stephen Murray, energy expert at Money Super Market commented: “With five of the Big Six having announced price increases to their standard variable tariffs recently, now is the perfect time to switch.
“This new offer means anyone moving to this Flow Energy deal could save on average almost £200 annually. Crucially, they will also know where they stand on their energy bills all the way through until October 2018, and won’t bear the brunt of any further possible price fluctuations during the winter months.
Lawrence Slade, Chief Executive of Energy UK, said: “This is further demonstration of competition in action in the retail market.Competition is driving up standards, innovation and investment as suppliers compete to keep and attract new customers.”
But EDF – the French-owned nuclear giant which is one of the Big Six UK energy suppliers – is raising the price of electricity for the second time this year for customers on standard tariffs.
From June, EDF customers will see electricity prices increase by 9% and gas prices by 5.5%. The supplier previously increased electricity prices by 8.4% on 1 March
The rise was immediately criticised by the energy regulator, OFGEM, where chief executive Dermot Nolan said:
“EDF’s second price rise in four months, when there has not been a dramatic rise in wholesale energy prices since it last put up prices, is difficult to justify and is further evidence that the energy market is not working in all consumers’ interests.”
Energy Action Scotland – the charity which campaigns against fuel poverty – said the latest EDF energy price rises said it was concerned that ‘yet again’ customers reliant on electricity for heating as well as other power use are experiencing the biggest rises in price.
Director Norman Kerr added: ““This year the Scottish Government is reviewing its fuel poverty strategy and so it has a major opportunity to set out plans for how it will make real in-roads into the problem of cold, damp and unaffordable to heat homes.
“Right now the Scottish Government is consulting on its energy strategy and we believe it is important that the new strategy takes full cognisance of the need to reduce energy demand as much as how to meet existing demand for energy in Scotland.
“Government at all levels needs to consider carefully how best to make domestic energy bills more affordable.”