Almost half of all households in the UK have switched energy supplier in the last four years, according to the Energy Switch Guarantee.
The Energy Switch Guarantee was launched in 2016 by the trade association Energy UK and is a voluntary industry initiative designed to make the energy switching process ‘hassle-free and quick’ for consumers. Its latest research has revealed that 48% of people have switched their energy supplier, a higher rate than the number of people who have switched other services.
For example, the report found that 35% of people have switched home insurance, 31% have switched their broadband provider, 24% have switched their home phone service and just 14% have switched their bank.
A record 5.8 million people switched energy suppliers last year, and the number is set to be even higher this year. Recent figures from Energy UK revealed that 668,371 customers switched their energy account to a new supplier in April alone, the highest number ever recorded for a single month. This figure is 34% higher than the number of switches in April 2018. There have now been more than 2 million energy switches made in 2019 so far, 18% higher than at this stage last year.
Of those who haven’t switched energy supplier, 39% said they are happy with their existing supplier’s level of customer service, while 34% are happy about the price they pay for their gas and electricity. However, prices are still the main reason people switch their energy, with 79% of respondents saying they’d be willing to switch to save money. Of those who have made the switch, 83% said they were happy with the process.
“It is encouraging that 83 per cent of consumers say that they’re happy with the switching process especially when record numbers of customers continue to switch every month,” said Pamela Taylor, independent chair of the Energy Switch Guarantee. “However, the research shows that the Energy Switch Guarantee still has more work to do to ensure that all consumers experience high levels of satisfaction when it comes to switching and that awareness of the guarantee increases.”
In terms of the energy price cap, which was introduced by Ofgem at the beginning of this year to limit the amount suppliers can charge their customers on standard variable tariffs, 70% of people said they have heard of it but 78% said they wouldn’t switch because of it. The ESG has advised consumers not to rely on the price cap to reduce their bills, suggesting customers can still save hundreds of pounds by switching supplier.
“Wholesale prices have fallen significantly in the last few months – which means there are now many good deals and potential savings on offer,” said Taylor. “My advice to consumers is not to rely on the price cap for a fair deal when they can switch supplier for a better one and potentially save hundreds of pounds.
“With the guarantee in place, consumers should feel confident to choose the best deal for them without worrying about their switch, losing supply or when they will receive their final bill. The guarantee covers around 85 per cent of the market and the signatories are committed to making switching simple, speedy and safe.”