The campaign highlights the issue of slow switching and asks the energy industry, Ofgem and the government to commit to a faster and simpler process.
The company has posted an online petition for consumers and MPs to sign in support of campaign.
£1.5 bn in potential savings
Research carried out by First Utility has revealed that the “speed and complexity” of changing supplier is the key factor keeping consumers from switching.
According to the survey, 35% of consumers would be more inclined to switch if the process was faster. First Utility calculates that if one third of British households were to switch, they would save a collective £1.5 billion per year on energy bills.
Suppliers need to make ‘switching process as smooth as possible’
Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch, welcomed the news: “It’s fantastic to see suppliers driving campaigns to make the switching process as smooth as possible and put the power back into consumers’ hands. With the current account switching process now taking just one week, and Ofcom working on making it quicker and easier to switch broadband, the energy industry is in danger of being left behind.
“Our own research shows that almost one in ten consumers are put off switching because it takes too long – this can end up costing them if they’re languishing on expensive tariffs. Therefore it’s crucial that the industry dramatically reduces the length of time it takes to move supplier.
“However, it’s important that no corners are cut that could harm consumers. Switching energy suppliers needs to be as simple and streamlined as possible but the ‘cooling off’ period is vital as it gives consumers confidence and allows them to change their mind before the switch goes through. If Ofgem can ensure that consumers enjoy this current level of protection as well as a quicker switch then we could see an extremely positive development in the energy industry.”
Industry needs to ‘follow the example set by the telecoms and banking’
Ian McCaig, CEO of First Utility said: “If we get 100,000 people to sign our petition, this will get debated in parliament and the industry will have to take note. A quick and easy energy switching process would deliver genuine cost-saving benefits by encouraging more people to benefit from better energy deals.
“The Energy industry needs to follow the example set by the telecoms and banking sectors. It takes just four hours to switch mobile phone providers and you can change banks in a week. It is less complicated to change energy provider, yet we are stuck with antiquated processes that suit no-one other than the incumbents. We need to slash the time it takes to change energy suppliers, not just by shaving a few days off the process, but by making a real difference and introducing same day switching.
“We strongly believe switching can be done in one day if other energy suppliers share our ambition and intent. We need providers and consumers to pledge their support so we can put proper pressure on Ofgem and the Government to work together to achieve this goal.”