The big six energy suppliers – British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, npower, ScottishPower and SSE – have seen an increasing number of customers leaving them to join small energy suppliers.
Energy UK, the trade association for the energy industry, stated that for the past seven months the number of people moving to a small supplier has increased month on month.
Despite the increase in switching, the big six are estimated to supply 95% of the UK’s homes.
More and more consumers switching to independent providers
In an interview with the Sunday Express, Ian McCaig, Chief Executive at First Utility, reveals that the independent energy supplier is on course to reach 500,000 customers in the next 18 months.
Other independent providers such as Good Energy, which has seen its customer base increase by 32% to 114,000, and the Co-operative Energy, which saw customers go from 145,000 to 200,000, have also benefitted.
McCaig singled out last winter’s price rises as one of the main drivers behind people switching.
Consumers sniff out savings
The news follows research carried out by uSwitch earlier this year, which showed 72% of households would consider switching to a small supplier. In 2013, the percentage of people who would consider an independent supplier was just 56%.
The same survey also asked energy consumers whether they were more likely to switch to a small supplier to get better customer service or cheaper energy prices. The vast majority, 78%, said they would be more compelled to switch to get a cheaper energy deal.
Independent suppliers still offering cheapest energy deals
Small suppliers continue to dominate the energy best buy table. As it stands there is a difference of close to £300 between the cheapest and most expensive plans available on the market.
At present First Utility is currently topping the table with its iSave Fixed Aug 2015, which will cost the average home £992 per year. The plan is the cheapest the market has seen in the past two tears and comes with £30 per fuel cancellation fees.