By Kate Brown
According to industry figures, more than 660,000 customers switched their energy supplier in February 2018 – the highest figure yet. This figure represents a 60% rise on February 2017. A fifth of the switches were away from the so-called Big Six energy suppliers (British Gas, EDF Energy, Npower, E.ON UK, Scottish Power, SSE) and to small or mid-sized firms.
Energy UK said one reason why customers are switching may be due to the publicity campaigns made by suppliers and switching websites. Ofgem reported that customers can save up to £300 on their gas and electric by switching provider. The largest savings were observed from people who had moved from expensive standard variable tariffs to cheaper fixed-term deals. Centrica, who owns British Gas, announced last month that it was axing approximately 4,000 jobs due to intense competition.
Another reason why a record number of customers switching their energy supplier in February has occurred may be due to the extreme cold weather the UK experienced over the last few weeks, sending home energy bills soaring.
Recent figures provided by Ofgem show many households also switching their gas supplier. The highest figure since 2008 was reported last year with 4.1mil domestic customers choosing a new gas provider. One reason for this high figure is that customers face a greater incentive to switch gas suppliers with gas bills being typically higher than electricity bills.
Chief executive of Energy UK, Lawrence Slade, stated “the energy market has never been so competitive, and it’s great to see record numbers of consumers engaging in the market to get a better deal”.