Switching in the millions
Four years ago the Big Six energy suppliers provided about 98% of all household energy and gas, and controlled about 74% of electricity generation. Then in recent years, that picture has slowly been changing.
The introduction of smaller companies offering much more competitive deals, sometimes saving the customer hundreds of pounds a year, has led to an increase in switching. Two years ago the figure was standing at around 15% of households switching – not quite as many as Ofgem had hoped for though. It is estimated that there are millions of households paying much more than they need to for their energy, and are paying around £330 a year more than people who have switched.
Fast forward to the present day and more and more people are taking the plunge and switching. New figures from Ofgem show that 7.7 million switches occurred in 2016 – a 28% increase from 2015. In fact, even as we talk to friends and family it seems the general approach to switching is undergoing a shift. People no longer fear it, or view it as a hassle and the message of money saving is hitting home. Industry experts have been saying they hope customers switching really reiterates the message for the bigger energy companies, as it highlights how, if they fail to keep prices under control, their customers are no longer afraid to go elsewhere. Switching sites are probably a big cause of this shifting mind set, as we are getting more used to using comparison sites like comparethemarket.com for things like insurance deals it was only a matter of time before society caught up with switching energy suppliers too. Especially when savings could amount to several hundreds of pounds.
And what is more is there are now companies set up to manage the switching on behalf of households. Flipper is just one example of a company who can sort through all the deals in the market and switch customers easily and automatically – several times a year if the deals fit!
It will be interesting to learn what the market looks like this time next year, or five years even. Will the market consist of just small and medium sized energy companies, with the Big Six no longer holding the majority? One thing is for sure, Wheatley have been in the energy market for over 25 years providing software that enables the switching process to industry requirements, have seen many changes, and are ready and waiting for how the industry will evolve next. For new and small companies there is no one better placed to speak to than a company that knows how to weather market change.