Smart shoppers, shop around and even smarter shoppers – switch – and that’s exactly what’s been happening in the increasingly competitive energy market. The final figures for the first three quarters of the year are in, and they show that between January and September there were 5.5 million switches – that’s a 28% increase compared to the same period last year. So, what’s going on and what’s brought on this flurry of consumer fickleness?
Over the years, there have been lots of initiatives to get you switching energy supplier and it seems more and more of you are taking heed – comparethemarket.com customers alone, have saved more than £70 million already in 2016. Plus, with the government backed Energy Switch Guarantee, it’s never been quicker or simpler. The guarantee means your energy supply won’t be disrupted; you won’t be charged for switching (unless you face early cancellation fees on your existing tariff); and no switch should take any more than 21 days if you are switching to a company that is signed up to the Energy Switch Guarantee.
Switching rates reached their highest in September 2016, and saw around 15% of gas and electricity customers changing supplier in order to get a better deal. But 66% of households are still on standard variable tariffs – which tend to be a supplier’s most expensive or ‘default’ rate. So, to ensure that customers are getting the cheapest fuel available to them, Ofgem (the energy market regulator) are making suppliers communicate with customers more effectively about what exactly is the cheapest tariff available.
But a supplier telling you about their best tariff, is only half of the story. In order to know what the best tariff on the market is, you’ll need to start comparing The cheapest tariff available is around £770** whilst the average standard variable tariff from the ‘big six’ is more than £1,000** – it’s a big difference and another reason why you shouldn’t just settle for average.
And it’s not just about the ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers anymore; 20% of switches went to mid-tier energy providers whilst nearly a quarter (23%) went to small suppliers, proving yet again that bigger isn’t always better.
So, if you’re fed up of hearing about how much money everyone else is saving then why not give it a go? You can find out more about the switching process and what tariff is right for you in our energy hub – go on, give your budget a boost, comparethemarket.com and start the new year with a few more pounds in your pocket.