Householders flee energy risesHundreds of thousands switch suppliers

05 July 2006

Hundreds of thousands of householders have responded to hikes in energy bills by switching suppliers to save money

Industry regulator Ofgem has found that around 900,000 customers switched gas or electricity suppliers in March following sharp price rises - 200,000 more than the same time last year.

This year has already seen a series of steep electricity and gas price rises from Scottish and Southern Energy, British Gas, Powergen, Scottish Power, EDF and Npower.

But Ofgem Chief Executive Alistair Buchanan said the switching figures - the highest for four years - showed competition was 'alive and kicking' and urged more households to follow suit.

'Competition is so vigorous that not only can you change your supplier, but you can also choose from a selection of tariffs. This variety of options means that there are significant savings to be made for all customers, including those on pre-payment meters.'

Strong competition

Ofgem's figures appear in its latest Domestic Retail Report on the state of competition in the UK energy industry. It concludes that strong competition between residential suppliers 'continues to protect British consumers.'

Mr Buchanan added: 'Our advice to all customers is to be Energy Smart while the sun shines and take advantage of the strong competitive energy market to shop around and get the best possible deal on your gas and electricity, so you are ready for the winter.'

Which? runs its own impartial energy price comparison site where you can check out which supplier offers the best deal for your gas and electricity.

People can save, on average, £160 by switching suppliers - with the biggest savings likely to be made by people who haven't switched before.