Big six lose more than 2 million customers

Independent energy suppliers reap the rewards as more and more consumers leave the big six in a bid to find cheaper gas and electricity prices

The big six have lost more than 2 million suppliers since  June 2014.

The big six have lost more than 2 million suppliers since June 2014.

According to a report published by the Mail on Sunday, two million customers have deserted the big six energy suppliers – British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, npower, ScottishPower and SSE – in favour of smaller, independent providers.

The main reason given for the switches is the cheaper prices currently on offer through small suppliers such as First Utility and Ovo Energy. The Mail reports that the 2.05 million who switched to a small supplier, saved an average of £200 on their bills.

Despite the exodus of customers, the big six still supply roughly 95% of the UK’s households.

Energy market under investigation

The report issued by the Mail on Sunday states that an average of 100,000 customers left the big six for a small supplier, every month since June 2013.

The news follows a barrage of criticism aimed at the big six for raising energy prices last winter and then failing to drop them at a later date, when wholesale energy prices fell.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is currently investigating the energy market to ensure it is competitive. The CMA has already highlighted the dominance of the big energy companies as a major concern.

The investigation is set to finish in December 2015.

Small suppliers offering cheapest deals

The cheapest energy deal currently on offer is Co-operative Energy’s Fair & Square tariff, which will cost the average home £989 per annum. This deal is, however, reliant on homes sending quarterly meter readings and if customers forget, they could be moved to the supplier’s much more expensive standard plan.

In this context, First Utility’s iSave Fixed September 2015 tariff costs just £3 more on average, per year and you will not be switched if you forget to send through meter readings. The cheapest big six plan is EDF Energy’s Blue+Price Promise February 2016, which is priced at £1,049 and will fix rates until February 2016. It carries no cancellation fees.

Households switching to a small provider

Top 5 best buy plans paying by monthly Direct Debit*

Supplier

Plan Name (POR)

Average Bill Size

Tariff type

Cancellation fee

End date

Co-operative Energy

Fair & Square

£989

Fixed

£25 per fuel

30.09.2015

First Utility

iSave Fixed September 2015 (v27)

£992

Fixed

£30 per fuel

31.08.2015

Extra Energy

Fixed Price September 2015 v11

£993

Fixed

£25 per fuel

30.09.2015

Green Star Energy

No Worries 12 Months Fixed 1406

£1,009

Fixed

£30 per fuel

12 months

Flow Energy

Thames Online Fixed September 2015

£1,010

Fixed

No cancellation fee

31.08.2015


* Based on a medium usage customer using 3,200 kWh of electricity and 13,500 kWh of gas paying by direct debit with bill sizes averaged across all regions.

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