Record numbers switched energy provider last year
Around 5.8 million homes switched to avoid price hikes.
A record number of people switched energy supplier last year in the UK, as customers were faced with the highest amount of price hikes in recent history.
The energy industry has however warned than progress might be undermined in the near future by fewer people shifting because of the Government’s price cap.
A total of around 5.8 million households moved to a different energy firm in 2018, which is an increase of 6% compared to 2017, according to the trade body Energy UK.
The organisation says that these figures might be a sign that the consumers are highly engaged in the market, but this rise could also simply reflect people moving because there were a record 57 price hikes throughout the year.
Around 11 million households currently on default tariffs have seen their bills get capped since 1st January, as Ofgem’s price cap came into force. This narrows the gap between the best and worst deals to £150-£200 as opposed to over £250, which it was previously.
Lawrence Slade, the chief executive of Energy UK, said: ‘My hope remains that, with the recent introduction of the price cap, we don’t see this element of competition undermined and switching levels falls, as is predicted in Ofgem’s impact assessment.’
Across 2018, a total of 1.7 million customers have moved to small and medium size energy firms, rather than remaining with the big six, who hold four fifths of the market.
Small suppliers also dominate the top of a new league table that has been released by Which? to survey customer satisfaction with energy companies. The big six meanwhile occupy the lower third of the table, with Scottish Power being the worst offender.
Rachel Reeves, Labour MP and chair of the cross-party business, energy and industrial strategy committee, said:
‘The Which? survey highlights once again that the big six are miserably failing their customers. Having ripped off loyal customers on SVTs (standard variable tariffs) for far too long, this survey shows that they aren’t delivering a service which is up to scratch either.
‘Customers should continue to shop around because they cannot reply on energy suppliers giving consumers a good deal or delivering the quality customer service which they deserve.’
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