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Big six energy price hikes drive away 150,000 customers

Price rises lead many consumers to switch to smaller energy providers

150,000 switched to an independent supplier

150,000 switched to an independent supplier

Since five of the big six energy firms announced price rises this winter, some 150,000 people across the UK have chosen to switch to smaller providers, it has been revealed by the BBC.

In the past month, five of the six biggest energy providers have announced that they are to increase what they charge their customers, with the only one not to have done so thus far, E.ON, also likely to increase bills in the next few weeks after recording a fall in profits.

However, far from simply accepting the rising prices, the BBC has reported that many have decided to take their custom elsewhere, seeking more competitive prices with independent suppliers.

Customer base increase for small firms

According to the findings published by the BBC, the rise in the number of customers switching to new providers has been taking place ever since the larger companies started announcing increases at the start of October.

One company, its report states, has seen an increase of 500% in its customer numbers in the space of just over a month. First Utility said it had brought in around 100,000 new consumers since the rises started.

In total, it is thought that some 150,000 customers have made the switch from big six providers to one of their smaller competitors.

As well as First Utility, Utility Warehouse reported that it has welcomed 35,000 new requests from households looking to switch, with Ebico also saying it has brought in 7,000.

Big six retain market strength

However, despite the sizeable movement towards smaller providers, the BBC said that the big six retain an overwhelming majority of the energy market across the country.

Even though they have lost a collective 150,000 consumers in the past month, EDF, E.ON, British Gas, npower, ScottishPower and SSE still command more than 97% of the customer base in the UK.

The only one of the big six to provide the BBC with figures was EDF. Although the company refused to give away customer numbers, it said it had gained some 350,000 gas and electricity accounts in the same time period.

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