Record 3.5m householders switch to alternative gas and electricity suppliers as former SSE chief invests in ‘even-smarter’ energy meter

Labrador smart meter auto-switcher
The Labrador smart meter auto-switcher

The number of consumers switching from their current household gas and/or energy supplier climbed to an all-time record high last month.

And the number of customers switching so far this has surpassed the total number of customers who switched in 2014, according to new data issued today by Energy UK.

Nearly half a million (444,653) customers switched their supplier in August 2017 – a 30 per cent increase compared to 2016.

This takes the total number of customers switching in 2017 to nearly 3.5 million people – surpassing the total number who switched in 2014 (3.4 million).

Customers are benefitting from having greater choice of energy supplier, with over 50 energy companies in the market. In August 2017 nearly a quarter of all switches (111,932 customers), moved to small and mid-tier suppliers from the larger suppliers.

This follows new data from the regulator OFGEM which revealed that the numbers of customers on standard variable tariffs has fallen by nearly one million in the last six months, following increased activity from energy companies to engage with their customers.

Lawrence Slade, Chief Executive, Energy UK, said: “The UK energy industry is changing, and at a rapid pace.

“To see switching increase by more than a third – an increase of more than 100,000 customers on the same time last year, shows that progress is being made.

“This is on top of many more customers moving to better deals with their own supplier, a sign of the continued efforts of suppliers to engage with their customers to ensure a fair deal for all.”

Meanwhile Labrador – a new company that supplies a ‘smart box’ that sits atop household smart meters to automatically switch the consumer to a lower-price energy supplier – has raised over £1 million from over 30 investors to roll out its money-saving device.

Investors include Ian Marchant, the former chief executive of Perth-based Big Six provider SSE.

London-based Labrador has already undertaken a pilot in conjunction with one of the major price comparison sites and a number of home energy users who tried the smart energy device,who found they were set to save up to £2,500 on their energy bills.

Marchant said: “The way we buy energy is undergoing a technology-enabled revolution and Labrador are at the forefront of this change.

“The growth in the number of energy suppliers over the last few years has placed a premium on making switching easier. Labrador are seeking to do just that – which is why I have invested.”

13 Sept 2017

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