Increase in energy prices sparks frenzied switching activity
By Katie Anderson on November 7, 2013
Recent gas and electricity price hikes by most of the country’s major energy suppliers has boosted energy switching as consumers fight back by switching their utility suppliers for a better deal.
Rising energy bills and an increase in the cost of living are an ongoing worry for households struggling to meet the cost of heating and powering their homes. And with four of the ‘Big Six’ energy providers announcing plans to increase their energy tariffs, the inflation-busting rises – just in time for Christmas and winter – are likely to be the last straw for millions of fed up customers.
However, the recent rises have boosted trading for price comparison sites like moneysupermarket.com and uSwitch.com, with the former enjoying a “very strong start” in the fourth quarter . Their revenue has reportedly jumped by more than 25% in the first couple of weeks in October compared to the same period in 2012, thanks to people energy switching in their droves.
A company spoksperson said: “Revenues from energy switching in particular have been very strong as consumers sought better deals in the face of rapidly rising domestic fuel bills announced by the majority of the major providers in the second half of October.”
With Prime Minister David Cameron encouraging consumers looking to save money by switching energy suppliers for a better deal, it would seem that his advice is being heeded, now more than ever after the latest round of tariff increases was announced.
According to moneysupermarket.com, last month alone they were able to help consumers save over £20 million by simply switching to a better energy tariff for their gas and electricity bills.
In October the Guardian reported a mass switching frenzy, with over 50,000 consumers actively choosing to switch suppliers for a cheaper option in the aftermath of SSE’s price rises. The country’s second largest supplier after British Gas, SSE became the first of the ‘Big Six’ to increase their energy tariffs, announcing an 8.2% hike from November 15th. This was closely followed by British Gas, npower and Scottish Power. E.ON and EDF Energy have yet to follow in the footsteps of their peers, although it’s surely just a matter of time.
Customers searching for better deals from their gas and electricity supplier should ensure their homes have adequate loft and cavity wall insulation. Also look into the benefits of installing a replacement boiler to help bring bills down even further. Households with an old inefficient G-rated boiler can save up to £310 a year by installing a new A-rated energy efficient central heating boiler.