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Record number of customers with small and medium sized energy suppliers

28th Feb 18 10:20 am

As more people switch to get a better deal

Over one in five energy consumers are now with small and medium sized suppliers, as more people switched to get a better deal last year.

This has left the six largest suppliers’ combined market share at a record low.

Last year, 5.1 million electricity consumers and 4.1 million gas consumers in total switched supplier, the highest number for almost a decade.

More than a third of these consumers switched from one of the six largest suppliers to rival companies. Many of these customers were switching for the first time.

The number of consumers with a small or medium-sized energy supplier reached a record high last year, continuing a sustained, long term movement away from the six largest suppliers.

In December last year, smaller and medium sized suppliers were supplying 21 per cent of consumers for electricity and 22 per cent for gas in December last year. In 2013 their market share was 4.7 per cent for electricity and 5 per cent for gas.

The six largest energy suppliers’ market share stood at 79 per cent for electricity and 78 per cent for gas in December 2017, down from 84 per cent for both gas and electricity at the end of 2016.

While more people are switching to get a better deal, those who have never switched or rarely do so are still being overcharged.

Around 57 per cent of non-prepayment meter consumers are on poor value standard variable rates, which can be as much as £300 more expensive than the cheapest deals on the market.

Ofgem is working to make switching easier, quicker and more reliable to help more people save money, particularly those on the worst deals, and this month launched the first-ever “simplified” collective switch.

Ofgem is also protecting those who don’t switch from being charged too much. Earlier this month the regulator extended the safeguard tariff, which already protects 4 million prepayment households, to almost 1 million more vulnerable consumers.

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