Press release:

Loyal Brits waste £3.5 billion sticking with their energy supplier – TV’s Rachel Riley to get them switching

  • Loyal Brits are throwing away £3.5 billion[1] by not switching energy deal – enough for nearly 10 million family breaks to Spain[2] or 29 million family visits to a theme park[3]
  • Some 12 million households – 60% of energy customers – miss out on average savings of £290[1] by not switching away from expensive Standard Variable Tariffs
  • Almost a third (29%) of Britain’s stretched bill payers say extra cash would give them the chance to go on holiday and one in ten (8%) would use the money to treat loved ones[4]
  • TV star and switching ambassador Rachel Riley teams up with uSwitch.com on national campaign to get more than 50% of the UK off expensive, rip-off tariffs by the end of 2020 – giving Brits more money to spend on enjoying life.

12 million households in Britain are leaving £3.5 billion[1] in the pockets of energy suppliers because they’re stuck on costly energy tariffs – but they would rather spend it on holidays and other treats, according to new research from price comparison service uSwitch.com.

An incredible 60%[1] of energy customers are still on a Standard Variable Tariff, even though they are usually the most expensive deal that energy suppliers offer. But in spite of average savings of £290[1] to be made by switching, households that stay put are giving their hard-earned cash to energy companies rather than spending it on the things they care about most.

If people had an extra £290 in their pocket, 29%[4] say they would book a holiday while almost a quarter (24%)[4] would save up for something special. Meanwhile, a very generous 8%[4] of the population would use it to treat family and friends. In fact, if every household on a Standard Variable Tariff switched to a cheaper deal, they could collectively enjoy 29 million meals out[5], 81 million family trips to the cinema[6] or 1.2 million holidays to Disney World Florida[2]. Alternatively, it could pay for 16 million monthly grocery shops[7] – enough to feed a family of four for 1.37 million years, or, more realistically, could support 20,000 families until the year 2086[7].

In a bid to mark 2018 as the year Britain starts spending more time and money enjoying life, TV star and switching ambassador Rachel Riley has teamed up with uSwitch.com on uSwitch, uWin, a national campaign to get more than 50% of UK households off expensive Standard Variable Tariffs by the end of 2020. The campaign aims to get the nation switching energy deal so they can have more money to spend on themselves and their families – and make expensive Standard Variable Tariffs the exception, not the rule.

The action kicks off this weekend when Rachel Riley and the uSwitch.com energy experts will be visiting Winkleigh in Devon, a village with one of the lowest switching rates in the country. Just 6.5%[8] of households there have switched over the last three years according to uSwitch data.

With over 90% of the village likely to be on expensive energy deals, Winkleigh could collectively be giving away over £600,000 to energy companies[8]. Rachel and the team will be holding an energy switching clinic there on Saturday 27th January to help them put more of their money back in their own pockets.

According to uSwitch data, more than a third (37%) of bill payers find it a stretch to pay their monthly bills and don’t have cash left over to do the things they enjoy[9]. Over a quarter (27%) say they feel financially worse off now than 12 months ago, with this number rising to a third (33%) of 43-54 year olds[10]. Yet only 12%[11] of people say they’ve considered switching energy tariff to help make their money go further.

Standard Variable Tariffs are usually the most expensive deal which energy companies offer. Customers who have never switched, or haven’t done so in the last 12 to 18 months, are very likely to be among the 60% of households on one of these poor-value tariffs.

The vast majority of customers on these expensive default tariffs are with the big six energy suppliers: British Gas has the largest number of customers on its Standard Variable Tariff (4.5m) followed by SSE (2.4m) and then E.ON (2m) [12]. But the gap between the average big six SVT (£1,131) and the cheapest deal currently on the market (£807) is a whopping £324[13] – meaning there are plenty of cheap tariffs offering significant savings for families to take advantage of.

TV presenter and switching ambassador, Rachel Riley says: “To think that we could all be nearly as £3.5 billion better off, simply by switching away from expensive energy deals, is staggering. That’s why I’m teaming up with uSwitch to help people easily switch, save and win.

 “Whether you’d like more money to spend on holidays, put into savings, or to treat your family and friends, you can save an average of £290 per year quickly and painlessly, simply by switching to a better tariff. And you’d be sending a powerful message to energy companies that Britain won’t stand for rip-off energy prices anymore.”

Shona Eyre, uSwitch.com energy expert, says: “12 million households are paying more than they need to for their gas and electricity, and nearly half the population don’t even realise they’re on the worst kind of energy deal. This is especially concerning when so many people say household bills mean they don’t have any money left over each month.

“With uSwitch uWin we’ll be helping people to take a stand against expensive deals and poor service. It’s time to make Standard Variable Tariffs a thing of the past and let Britain spend its hard-earned money on the things it really cares about.”

For more details of the event visit http://bit.ly/WinkleighWins

— ends —

Notes to editors

 ‘Survey’ refers to uSwitch.com research of 1,886 people across the UK, conducted by Populus between 20th December and 22nd December 2017.

  1. According to Ofgem data, in April 2017, the proportion of domestic customer accounts on standard variable tariffs (‘SVT’) and paying by non-prepayment methods was 59%. (Ofgem Retail highlights December 2017 – Prices and profits: number of non-prepayment domestic customer accounts by supplier) Ofgem estimates that there are 12 million households on Standard Variable Tariffs as at April 2017 (Ofgem State of the Markets report 2017, p3) which equates to around 14 million energy accounts (depending on the number of energy accounts within each property) Figure calculated by multiplying the average saving achieved through uSwitch between 1 April – 30 September 2017 (£290) by 12 million households equalling  £3,480,000,000.
  2. Example calculated using a quote for a holiday for 7days/6 nights at Disney World, Florida, for 2 adults and 2 children, at the end of June, generated via the Disney World website, totalling £2,890.90 including flights, hotels and taxes. The figure of £3,480,000,000 was divided by £2,890.90 to find the number of holidays possible, equalling 1,203,777. Spain example calculated using Expedia.com, average holiday to Spain for a family of four costing £359.23. The figure of £3,480,000,000 was divided by £359.23 to find the number of holidays possible, equalling 9,687,387
  3. Example calculated based on a trip to Alton Towers for two adults and two children, with a cost of £33 per adult ticket and £27.50 per child ticket, with a total outlay of £121. The figure of £3,480,000,000[1] was divided by £121 to find the number of family theme park trips possible, equalling 28,760,331
  4. Survey participants were asked to answer the open-ended question, ‘What would you do with an extra £290?’. The majority of respondents (29%) said they would book a holiday/ trip away/ put towards a holiday/ trip/ travelling, 24% of respondents said they would save the money, and 8% said they would use the money to treat family / friends.
  5. Example calculated assuming dinner with a cost of £30 per head for a family of four, totalling £120. The figure of £3,480,000,000[1] was divided by £120 to find the number of family dinners possible, equalling 29,000,000
  6. Example calculated assuming a family cinema ticket at Odeon cinema (quote from Odeon.co.uk), for two adults and two children, totalling £43. The figure of £3,480,000,000[1] was divided by £43 to find the number of family dinners possible, equalling 80,930,232.56
  7. Example calculated assuming an average monthly family grocery spend of £212.80 (according to the most recent Office for National Statistics Family spending report dated 16 February 2017, the average weekly family food shop costs £53.20). The figure of £3,480,000,000 [1] was divided by £212.80 to find the number of monthly family grocery shops possible, equalling 16,415,094.33. The total figure of 16,415,094.33 was then divided by 12 to find the number of years that this equated to (1,367,924.52). Assuming this total would be shared among 20,000 families, each family would benefit from 68.4 years of grocery shopping.
  8. Winkleigh figure based on uSwitch data showing 6.5% of households in Winkleigh switched energy supplier between 9 April 2014 and 22 June 2017. Therefore 93.5% may not have switched supplier.

95% of households in Winkleigh are not on the gas grid (source:www.nongasmap.org.uk).

Between 1 March 2017 & 30 September 2017 the average saving for households switching their electricity supplier through uSwitch was £199. At least 10% of households switching electricity saved £412 or more.

The proportion of non-switching households in Winkleigh, multiplied by the maximum saving which customers could make by switching electricity deal (£412 per year) =£625,828.

  1. Survey participants were asked to answer the question, ‘Thinking about your current finances, to what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: ‘I find it a stretch to pay the bills and I don’t always have enough money left over to do the things I enjoy’’. 37% of respondents either ‘Strongly agree’ (16%), or ‘Slightly agree’ (21%).
  2. Survey participants were asked to answer the question, ‘Thinking about your current financial situation compared to 12 months ago, do you feel better off now, about the same, worse off now, or prefer not to say?’. 27% of respondents selected ‘Worse off now’. 33% of respondents aged 43-54 years old selected ‘Worse off now’.
  3. Survey participants were asked to answer the question, ‘Which of the following, if any, are you planning to do in order to be less stressed about money?’. Respondents were asked to select from a list of options, with only 12% of participants selecting ‘Switch energy providers’:
  4. Data taken from Ofgem: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/standard-variable-tariffs-latest-trends-september-2017
  5. Source uSwitch.com. As of 18th January 2018 the average big six SVTs is £1,131. The cheapest deal is Outfox the Market at £807. £1,131 – £807 = £324

About us

Launched in September 2000, uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, broadband, TV services, mobiles and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, car and home insurance. Last year we saved UK consumers over £278 million on their energy bills alone.

Customers can sign up to an account that automatically monitors the energy market and notifies them when they can move to a cheaper tariff, while broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and identify the best deal for their postcode.

The multi award-winning 'Switching Made Simple' app allows customers to compare energy, broadband, credit card, mobile and SIM-only deals – and uSwitch also has a UK contact centre manned by energy and broadband experts. Customers can post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH to receive a free call back and be guided through the comparison process, or they can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details.

uSwitch is owned by ZPG, which operates some of the UK’s most trusted digital brands that help empower smarter property and household decisions including Zoopla, Money, PrimeLocation and SmartNewHomes.

If you would no longer like to receive our press releases please email prteam@uswitch.com with 'unsubscribe'.