New research from uSwitch has found that the average yearly savings for a household switching energy is the highest it’s been in three years.
This rise in savings — £228 a year for the average switcher; up to £400 for those who have not switched in some time — can be credited to small suppliers, who consistently topped best buy tables throughout 2014.
In fact, it is believed that the big six lost market share to the tune of 1.3 million customers to independent suppliers such as First Utility, Extra Energy and Ovo Energy last year.
Switching to better service
In November, uSwitch announced the winners of its annual Energy Awards — an independent survey of 5,000 energy consumers about their satisfaction levels concerning their supplier — and the results were impressive for small suppliers.
Ovo Energy and First Utility scored first and second, respectively, in Overall Customer Satisfaction, and scored highly in the majority of the other categories, including Billing Services, Value for Money, Customer Service and Most Likely to Recommend.
Big six still dominate
Despite the wins for small suppliers (and customers who benefited from their sub-£1,000 deals) last year, the big six still hold more than 95% of the market share.
They’ve also responded to the cheap plans from their independent counterparts with impressive plans of their own. Both npower and ScottishPower currently boast plans of their own that average under £1,000 a year.
Only few make the switch
Although these numbers look quite promising, Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy for uSwitch.com, believes there is more that can be done: “Competitive tariffs from small energy providers have fuelled an increase in the money people can save through switching.
“This is strong evidence that competition is beginning to work in the energy market. Frustratingly, only a minority of people are taking advantage of lower prices and so vast numbers are paying unnecessarily through the nose for their energy. “We are urging the Competition and Markets Authority to look at ways to better engage consumers in their ongoing market investigation, as this is key to making competition work.”