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Thousands of customers switch energy provider amid price increases



Around 50,000 consumers are believed to have switched their energy supplier following energy firm SSE’s recent announcement of an 8.2% price rise.

Energy price comparison service Energyhelpline reported that last week it had six times the activity it normally has.

Marketing manager Paul Green told the Guardian, “I would think that around 50,000 people overall have switched their energy providers – not necessarily all from SSE – following the price rise. We would expect to see more activity on Monday.

On Thursday, SSE told its customers that it would be increasing its energy prices by 8.2%, starting from November 15, because of the rising cost of wholesale energy and government green levies. The other big energy firms are expected to do the same announcement shortly.

Energy secretary Ed Davey commented, “People should take the opportunity now to make sure they are on the best deal available to them.”

In September, energy regulator Ofgem has called for a quicker process for households to switch their energy supplier, which can currently take up to five weeks.

Green said that the amount of customers switching provider would have been even greater if British Gas had announced the increase of prices. However, Energyhelpline believes that other firms are just waiting to follow suit to see if they manage to grab customers leaving SSE.

Mark Todd, director of price comparison service at Energyhelpline, said, “A price rise has been on the cards for weeks, it has only been a matter of who would go first and when.”

SSE blamed green policies – such as taxes on carbon dioxide emissions – for the price increase, arguing that these will add £790m per year – or £26 per household to energy bills by 2015.

The green taxes help create jobs in the new economy and reduce our dependence on scarce fossil fuels, bought at volatile prices from unstable regimes. On a typical energy bill of £1,500, they add around £70.

Further reading:

SSE energy prices to increase by 8.2% in November

Abandoning ‘environmental taxes’ on energy bills will harm your health and wealth

Regulator supports calls to speed up energy supplier switching process  

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

The Guide to Limitless Clean Energy 2013