New switching numbers show that around one million customers across the UK sought out energy deals in November and December last year – compared to 3.5 million switches for the whole of 2013 – following a spate of inflation-busting price rises by the Big Six utility companies.
These are Britain’s largest energy companies, supplying gas and electricity to more than 50 million homes and businesses in the UK, with over 95% share of domestic customers. Companies in this category are British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Npower,Scottish Power and SSE.
The latest research also shows that at the same time as the number of consumers switching suppliers rocketed by 300% following the flood of Big Six price rises, by far the majority of switches were made away from the Big Six to small independent suppliers.
Small suppliers are suppliers other than Big Six Suppliers who are licensed by Ofgem to supply electricity to UK business and households. There are over 30 of these, including companies such as First Utility, Good Energy, Co-op Energy and Ovo.
Angela Knight, Chief Executive of Energy UK, the trade association whose members include the Big Six, said the figures, independently compiled by Electralink, ‘demonstrate that industry reforms are working and that switching is simple and easy for customers to do’
Knight also said it also proved that the energy industry was competitive with nearly 230,000 of those switching choosing smaller independent suppliers. She added:
“Increased switching is a welcome sign that the energy industry is becoming more competitive, clearer and working for its consumers. There has been a sharp increase in the number of customers switching and those shopping around for a deal which suits their individual circumstances.
“Competition is alive and well with people choosing new entrants to the market and smaller suppliers rather than just sticking with established companies.
“When choosing a supplier there are plenty of options available, but it always pays to shop around and find a deal that works best for you. You can get the information you need from the companies themselves or can trust to be impartial any comparison site displaying the Ofgem Confidence Code.”