Competition is benefiting more energy consumers but many others, especially the vulnerable, are still getting a poor deal, according to Ofgem’s annual State of the Energy Market report.
A quarter (25%) of customers are with small and medium-sized suppliers as more people switched to get a better deal.
The market share of the six largest suppliers has fallen to a new low as a result and their annual profits fell last year for the first since 2014, by 10% to £900 million.
However, as of April this year, more than half (54%) of households were still on a poor value default deal, compared to three in five (57%) households in October last year. Many customers in vulnerable circumstances continue to be most likely to be paying over the odds for their energy.
In 2018, two in five (41%) respondents to our latest annual Consumer Engagement Survey said they had engaged in the market to some degree, for example by switching.
But only a third (32%) of customers living in rented social housing had engaged with the market, and a third (32%) of households using prepayment meters.
The report also found that one in five (19.4%) customers living in private rented housing are in fuel poverty, higher than any other type of households and almost twice the overall average.
Ofgem has been working with suppliers to make sure vulnerable consumers get more support. Last year only 17 households had their electricity or gas disconnected, down from its peak of 8,300 a decade ago, and suppliers provided over 1.5 million “Priority Services Register” services (for example providing energy bills in braille) to vulnerable consumers, up by 25% compared to 2016.