The Big Switch explained
- Find out more about The Big Switch and how it works
- Find out how The Big Switch worked
- What you can do to make energy bill savings today
- How 36,000 people switched to a better deal
This article, The Big Switch explained, was last updated on 30 March 2012 and is now out of date and held in our online archive for reference. Explore our latest Energy articles.
Can I still join The Big Switch?
The Big Switch aimed to make it easy for you to switch to a better energy deal - and save you money on your gas and electricity bills. Our video revealed how and why consumers should get involved.
It only takes one person to change a lightbulb. But what if we want to change something bigger? We need people power to change the energy market. Be part the 200,000 strong crowd who’ve joined The Big Switch to get the cheapest deal. We need as many people as possible to stand together and demand a better deal. We need you to pass it on.
What is The Big Switch?
The Big Switch was a completely new way to buy - and save money - on your energy.
People tell us they don't know how to find the best deal as there are so many energy tariffs to choose from.
So, using the power of thousands of consumers, we negotiated with energy suppliers to seek a market-leading energy deal and help people make the switch. We had more than 50,000 people sign up to The Big Switch within the first 48 hours and more than 250,000 more after.
After our negotiations in May 2012 we secured a deal with Co-operative Energy to achieve savings of £123 for those taking part thanks to a new market-leading tariff.
How did The Big Switch work?
Once we knew how many people are interested in switching, we held a ‘reverse auction’ where energy companies were invited to put forward their lowest price per kilowatt of electricity and cubic meter of gas.
After securing a deal, we offered it to those who signed up during the registration phase. Registration has now closed, but it's not too late to save, compare gas and electricity suppliers now using Which? Switch to see how much you could cut your energy bills by.
Did those who registered have to switch?
Not at all. We'll let those who signed up know once we’d secured a deal and what it was - they were then free to choose whether or not to accept it.
There was no commitment or obligation to sign-up with the new supplier, so participants could decide whether to stay with their existing energy company, or move elsewhere.
We can't confirm the type of tariff we'll be able to offer until we've negotiated with the gas and electricity companies.
Who was eligible to take part?
The Big Switch was open to everyone in England, Scotland and Wales.
Who's behind The Big Switch?
Which? and online campaigning community 38 Degrees are working together on The Big Switch to get you a better deal on your energy bills.
Did Which? make a profit out of The Big Switch?
Which? is a not-for-profit organisation. We looked to receive a commission from the energy companies in a similar way we do with our switching website Which? Switch in order to cover our costs and help fund future campaigns.
We invested significant funds to try and get the initiative off the ground - this included investment in technology and software, publicity, expert energy advisers and legal resources as well as staff and call centre support. We hoped the switching revenue we made would pay back our investment and help us to break even, if we make a surplus after paying our costs, revenue will be re-invested in our broader energy campaign.