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Itching to switch: Nearly six million households are stuck with an energy supplier they didn't choose

  • Almost six million households are stuck with an energy supplier they never chose, after their previous provider went bust or into special administration[1] 

  • Customers who chose their supplier are more likely to be satisfied with their service (64%) compared to those who didn’t (52%)[2]

  • A higher proportion of customers with a Supplier of Last Resort have switched to the Uswitch So Energy fixed deal than those with a provider they chose[3]

  • 14 million bill-payers – nearly half of households (49%) – want to switch to a fixed deal to get certainty about their energy costs[4] 

  • Seven in ten (72%) would switch suppliers if they could get a cheaper deal, while one in seven (16%) would move for better customer service[5]

  • Uswitch.com encourages customers eager to switch to sign up to alerts and stay up to date with fixed energy deals

Almost six million households are still stuck with an energy supplier they never chose after their previous provider went bust[1], reveals new research from Uswitch.com, the comparison service. 

Nearly two years on from the start of the energy crisis, millions of people remain with the supplier Ofgem selected for them when their provider went bust. 

Switching tariffs stalled during the crisis, leaving people stuck with standard variable tariffs set by the price cap or Energy Price Guarantee as bills rocketed. 

There is a big difference in satisfaction between customers who chose their supplier and those who didn’t. Nearly two thirds of customers (64%) who chose their supplier are happy with the service they are receiving, compared with only half (52%) of those who didn’t pick their current provider[2].

The price cap is due to fall to £2,074 for the average dual-fuel household paying by direct debit from July 1. This is still high by historic standards, but significantly cheaper than the current £2,500 Energy Price Guarantee level. 

The gradual decline in wholesale energy prices means that suppliers should be in a better position to start offering fixed deals to the whole market, not just existing customers, which has not happened since September 2022. 

Consumers say they’re keen for deals to return, with 14 million households — nearly half of households (49%) — wanting to switch to a fixed tariff to get certainty over their energy costs[4]. 

Uswitch recently launched its first limited fixed energy deal that is available to new customers, and available to existing customers directly through So Energy. The business saw a higher proportion of customers who had previously been with a Supplier of Last Resort request to switch to this deal, compared to other energy customers[3]. 

Many consumers want to move away from their current providers, with seven in ten (72%) saying they would switch suppliers if they could get a cheaper deal elsewhere. One in seven (16%) would also change providers to get better customer service[5].

The return to the Ofgem price cap dictating default tariff rates means that people on standard variable tariffs will see their energy costs change four times a year.

Uswitch.com is advising customers to get themselves ready for a return to fixed deals by signing up for services that will alert them when deals are available.

Richard Neudegg, director of regulation at Uswitch.com, comments: “Millions of households have been transferred to suppliers they didn’t choose due to their previous provider falling through the cracks of the energy crisis. 

“So it’s no surprise that these customers are the most dissatisfied and eager to switch to a supplier of their own choosing. In fact, the majority of those who have already switched to our exclusive fixed So Energy deal are customers who have been trapped with a supplier they didn’t want.

“We’re working closely with energy providers to bring fixed deals back to the market, and we’ve seen high demand for the first exclusive Uswitch deal launched last week.

“Limited deals are now starting to become available, but the ‘fix window’ may be small, so households need to be prepared to move quickly if they want the price certainty.

“All energy customers interested in fixed deals are advised to sign up at Uswitch to be 'switch ready' and be first to hear about the next exclusive deal.” 

To get switch ready, register with Uswitch here to keep up to date with fixed deals news.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Rianna York
Phone: 07817 083 280
Email: rianna.york@rvu.co.uk
Twitter: @UswitchPR

Notes
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 17,580 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28th March - 26th April 2023.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
1. Respondents were asked ‘Were you previously with an energy supplier that went bust during the energy crisis and have been moved to a different supplier now’? 21% said ‘yes - my previous supplier went bust and I was moved to a new one / in the process of being moved to a new one’. 21% of 28.1 million UK households = 5.9 million. 
2. Overall customer satisfaction for households who didn’t go through the SOLR process was 64.1%, compared with 51.7% for customers whose supplier went bust and they had another provider allocated in the SOLR process. 
3. Uswitch data.
4. Respondents were asked ‘Thinking of your current energy tariff, and the concept of switching tariff or supplier, how much do you agree or disagree with the following statements?’ 49% said they agreed with the statement that ‘I would like to switch to a fixed tariff so that I have certainty over the price I will pay’.
5. Respondents were asked ‘Which of the following would encourage you to switch energy providers’? 72% said ‘if I could get cheaper energy rates elsewhere, I would switch’, 16% said ‘if I could get better customer service elsewhere, I would switch’. 

About Uswitch 

Uswitch is one of the UK’s top comparison websites for home services switching, including energy, broadband and mobiles. 

More people go to Uswitch to switch their energy, broadband and mobile than any other site, and we have saved consumers over £2.7 billion off their bills since we launched in September 2000.

Free mobile app Utrack also helps households manage their home energy usage and make potential savings. 

Uswitch is part of RVU, a group of online brands with a mission to empower consumers to make more confident home services, insurance and financial decisions.