Millions of customers switching for better energy deals

Millions of householders shopped around for a better energy deal last year, reaching a six-year high. According to new figures from Ofgem. 7.7 million gas and electricity switches took place […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Millions of householders shopped around for a better energy deal last year, reaching a six-year high.

According to new figures from Ofgem. 7.7 million gas and electricity switches took place in 2016 – 28% more than the previous year.

Switching rates reached their highest level since 2010, at around 15.8% across gas and electricity customers.

Out of the switches, nearly half (47%) were to small or medium sized suppliers.

Ofgem says customers could still save around £230 a year from switching to the cheapest deals as two-thirds of them still remain on standard variable tariffs.

It adds switching has “never been easier” as the vast majority of moving to a different supplier takes three weeks to complete, including a 14-day ‘cooling off’ period.

In comparison, it took around five weeks three years ago.

CEO Dermot Nolan said: “This welcome increase in switching should serve as a warning to supply companies. If they fail to keep prices under control or do not provide a good service, they risk being punished as customers vote with their feet.

“While today’s figures show good progress, the market is not as competitive as we would like. That is why we have put a temporary price cap in place to protect people on prepayment meters who have the least access to competitive deals and why we are pursuing a raft of reforms which will make this market fairer, smarter and more competitive for consumers.”