Consumers are increasingly switching away from the big six energy suppliers and searching for cheaper deals from smaller firms, an independent energy supplier has claimed.
Economy Energy says that it has seen its customer base increase by 45% since the energy price hikes last year. Its comments come after the energy regulator Ofgem ordered a competition inquiry into the big six’s dominance.
Paul Berridge, marketing and sales compliance manager at Economy Energy, said, “Our customer numbers increased as consumers’ dissatisfaction with ongoing price rises from the big six continues.”
He added that customers were being pushed “into the red” by high energy prices, and that it is often difficult to know whether people are getting the best deal or not due to the “huge array” of tariffs on offer.
He said, “Households and businesses across the UK are struggling to keep on top of energy bill payments and smaller companies, like ourselves, can provide a much cheaper alternative”.
The claims come just days after one of the big six, SSE, announced price freezes until 2016, reigniting the debate over energy prices. Although the government is claiming credit for cutting green levies, the Labour party says that its policy, which would see energy firms forced to freeze their prices, led to the announcement.
The SSE news comes at a cost – making the announcement this week, the firm said that it would be pulling support for a number of renewable energy projects, including wind farms, and making job cuts.
SSE was one of the firms in the firing line after it hiked its prices last year, facing a committee of MPs to give evidence, some of whom said there was a need to nationalise the industry. Labour’s Ian Lavery said that they were not running the industry properly.