1.7million people boycott big six energy giants for smaller ones instead
More than five million people switched energy suppliers last year, with a record number of them shunning the "Big Six", new figures show.
One in five customers switched their provider in 2018 – an increase of 6% on the previous year, marking the highest number since records began.
Energy UK – which released the figures – said consumers are increasingly switching to small and medium sized energy providers amid rising tariffs.
It follows a Which? customer satisfaction poll that found all of the top 10 suppliers right now are challenger firms.
Energy UK said 5.8 million changed their supplier last year – equivalent to just under half a million each month.
It continues a trend of year-on-year increases in energy switching, with around 30% – or 1.7 million customers – moving to a small or mid-tier supplier.
Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK, said: "It is positive to see such high levels of energy switching – particularly when compared to other sectors – with one in five customers switching supplier in 2018.
"My hope remains that, with the recent introduction of the price cap, we don’t see this element of competition undermined and switching levels fall, as is predicted in Ofgem’s impact assessment."
"More importantly, as the temperatures fall, consumers should ensure their house is energy efficient – for example checking that it is well insulated – which is the best way to keep energy bills down in the long run."
According to MoneySupermarket, the average household stands to save £200 by switching – and even more so over the next quarter with the energy price cap set to rise again.
"Politicians claim the energy market is broken and there isn’t effective competition, but the record-breaking switching numbers – as well as the continued net gains made by small and medium suppliers breaking the stranglehold of the Big Six – tell a different story," explained Stephen Murray, at MoneySuperMarket.
"We are also only a couple of weeks away from the next price cap level being announced by the regulator Ofgem, with a rise of about £100 being forecast. So those 20% who aren’t switching regularly need to act now before they get hit by another price increase.
“Switching has never been easier – it takes five minutes online and you could save up to £200 today, simply by moving to a competitive tariff with a Big Six or small supplier.”
For help on how to find a cheaper deal, see our guide on how to switch your energy supplier.
If you’re wondering if it’s cheaper to leave the heating on all day over winter, see what the experts say, here.
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