Big Increase of Customers Switching Suppliers
There has been a dramatic increase of customers switching suppliers compared to the same time last year. UK trade association Energy UK says over 600,000 customers switched supplier during March. That constitutes a relatively huge increase of 29% compared to the same month in 2018.
Total Doesn’t Even Include Tariff Changes
The number cited by Energy UK doesn’t account for customers who switched tariffs but stayed with the same supplier. Energy UK’s Chief Executive, Lawrence Slade, said of the large numbers of people changing which firm supplies their energy:
“It is very positive to see increasing numbers of customers continuing to switch and engaging in the market to make sure they’re on the best deal for them.”
Mr Slade added:
“And of course, this number doesn’t include those customers who choose to move to a new tariff with their current supplier, which would add many more thousands of households.”
In total, 615,503 customers switched suppliers during March. That brings the total of supplier switches to 1,451,145 for the first quarter of 2019. That number is up 12% on the total who switched during the first quarter of 2018.
Price Cap Rise ‘Most Likely’ Behind Switching Increase
The primary factor behind the increase was identified by Energy UK as the recent rise of the energy price cap. Mr Slade explained:
“It is most likely that this month’s increase is in response to the recent price cap rise announced by Ofgem, showing
how the price of electricity and gas is affected by variable costs, the vast majority of which are out of suppliers’ direct control.
“While we hope engagement levels remain high, we can only really assess the cap’s effect on switching over a longer period of time when it might fall as well as increase.”
Energy Efficiency Key to Lasting Savings
Energy UK were also keen to emphasise the need for energy efficiency. Mr Slade added:
“The one way to ensure lasting savings for all customers – whatever happens to unavoidable costs and the resulting effect on bills – is to make all our homes and businesses energy efficient and for customers to take advantage of new smart tariffs which will help save more money immediately. As our forthcoming Future of Energy report makes clear, we need to make energy efficiency a central part of our future.”
The trade association also emphasised that efficiency measures could cut bills by hundreds of pounds a year.
“In a week where concerns on this issue have been
prominent, using less energy has been shown to make a huge contribution to cutting our emissions,”
Mr Slade concluded.
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