Innovations in both energy markets and the way consumers throughout the world engage with energy suppliers have created an environment of change.
In the UK specifically, Britons are making moves to switch energy providers at a higher rate than ever before. There are several reasons for the shift in the
energy industry, including a new focus on renewable energy sources as well as an influx of new providers that promise savings and improved customer service.
However, other factors are adding to the growing trend across nearly all market sectors throughout the country.
By the Numbers
In 2017, more than 5.1 million gas and energy customers moved to a different supplier – an increase from the 4.8 the year prior. Of the more than 28 million electric and 22 million gas consumers, this may seem like a small shift, but the statistics show a different story.
Since 2014, the number of energy supplier transfers has risen steadily, up from 3.05 million total. According to Energy UK, the numbers coming in for 2018 show a similar trend. More customers are making a move, and to different suppliers, away from the most trusted names in UK energy. Throughout the country, most consumers recognise the big-six suppliers, including British Gas, E.ON,
SSE, EDF Energy, Npower, and Scottish Power. However, more than 60 energy suppliers now exist in the region, making the options for switching more robust than in years past.
The expectation is that energy transfers for gas and electricity will continue over the upcoming years, so long as the drivers for change remain constant.
Why the Change?
The increasing number of households changing energy providers over the years correlates back to several motivating factors. The most apparent is money. A finance specialist from MoneyPug, an energy comparison site in the UK, explained that consumers are looking for realistic strategies to reduce their monthly bills, and changing energy suppliers can offer relief.
Comparison shopping is now easier than ever, involving only a few pieces of information from the customer, including postcode and energy consumption from a recent bill. With a few clicks of the mouse, consumers compare a handful of energy supplier service plans, and see where savings can be recouped.
Although total savings vary from household to household, one recent report suggests that on average, consumers can save an estimated £434 per year on their gas and electricity bills. Each year, the cost of energy consumption continues to rise, creating a more than £1,100 expense for most Brits. With savings of one-third or more, it is no surprise that transfers of service continue to climb.
In addition the most pressing driving force of potential savings, consumers are coming around to the idea that making a switch isn’t as painful as they previously imagined. With the growing number of energy suppliers available, all vying for consumer buy-in, the complexities previously inherent to making a move have all but disappeared. Consumers can pick the supplier of choice, set a new service date, and experience no interruptions to service as the change takes place behind the scenes.
Adding to the number of supplier changes is the realisation that customers with solar panels and other renewable energy technology do not experience any difference in the feed-in tariffs they receive from their supplier. Feed-in tariffs – the payments received for excess energy generated by alternative energy sources and sold back to the supplier- are organised under contractors with providers allowed to do so.
The contract, initially established when solar panels are installed, remains unphased even if the customer changes energy suppliers. Because there is no disruption to these payments which represent another potential source of savings, customers are more willing to make a switch.
The Future of the Energy Markets
As the draw to renewable energy becomes more palpable for UK consumers, there is an expectation
that additional innovations in how power is generated and consumed are on the horizon.
However, the motivators among the majority of Britons who make a switch in energy suppliers each year will remain
As more competition continues to enter the market, with more suppliers offering
incentives to switch and locked in rates, consumers have the upper hand in selecting which company will
provide their gas and electric service now and in the future.
Ryan Beitler is a journalist and blogger who covers politics, business and finance. He has been published in Paste Magazine, OC Weekly, New Noise Magazine, and more.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.