Monday 24th October 2016                 Change text size:

Customers switching energy providers at record low

Plenty of electricity cables connected to a pole

The number of customers switching energy providers dropped to an all time low, according to statistics published by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The statistics, which were published on Tuesday, show that in the second quarter of 2013, electricity customers that transferred providers fell to 658,000. Compared with the previous quarter, this was a decrease of 17%.

Meanwhile, the number of gas transfers fell by 80,000, a decrease of 14%.

Earlier this week, consumer group MoneySuperMarket warned of “imminent” price rises across the energy sector, claiming that 12.6million householders were paying more than necessary. It also claimed that they could save up to £2billion by switching to fixed-rate tariffs.

Energy prices have been the hot topic of conversation this week as Labour leader Ed Miliband promised to tackle the “cost of living crisis”, and said that he would freeze energy prices if election in the 2015 general election.

This led to discontent among the energy industry leaders, with Sir Roger Carr, chairman of Centrica, which owns British gas, warning of “economic ruin”. Centrica’s shares fell by 3.8% on the day of Miliband’s speech.

The number of customers switching tariffs and suppliers has fallen continuously since 2008.

Commenting on the statistics, Claire Francis, consumer finance expert said, “By moving onto a fixed online deal, these people could save around £200 on the cost of their annual bill and also protect themselves from more price increases for at least 12 months.”

Last month, it was revealed that the ‘big six’ energy firms had raked in £3.74billion in profits, an increase of 74% on the previous three years.

Energy regulator Ofgem also backed calls recently to speed up the switching process.

Further reading:

Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze energy costs sparks intense debate

Households must act against ‘imminent’ energy price hikes, says MoneySuperMarket

Social economy bodies ask political leaders for ‘21st century’ energy debate

‘Big six’ energy firms see 74% increase in profits in three years

Regulator supports calls to speed up energy supplier switching process

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