This article was originally published in Energy Spectrum Issue 679 on 19 August 2019.
Some 5.8mn electricity and gas switches were reported in the first six months of 2019 (H119), up from 4.97mn a year early.
Energy UK reported on 22 July that electricity switching in June was 440,323. While the figure was down 9% year-on-year, the H119 total of 3.047mn was up 10% on a year earlier (see Figure 1).
In June, 35% of switches were customers switching from a large supplier to a small and medium supplier (SaMS), while 16% were from SaMS to large suppliers, 26% were between large suppliers and 23% between SaMS.
Xoserve gas switching data showed that there were 339,357 gas switches in June, which is both a 12% fall on May and a 12% decrease on June 2018. In total H119 total gas switches were up 25% year-on-year at 2.745mn.
Energy UK Chief Executive Lawrence Slade commented: “Whilst our figures show there has been a significant decrease last month, switching remains up on last year, and our hope is that consumers will continue to shop around for a better deal.” Slade highlighted that “with around 60 suppliers on the market, consumers have now more choice and services offered to them than ever before” and said the best way consumers can reduce energy bills is to use energy more efficiently by getting a smart meter or investing in energy efficient measures such as roof insulation.
Of the H119 electricity switches 1.266mn were from one of the six large suppliers to a SAMS, with 0.365mn opting to move the other way (see Figure 2).
The net gain for SaMS was 0.9mn, equivalent to 30% of all electricity switches and similar to the 29% equivalent figure for 2018. In that year a net 1.713mn electricity switches to SaMS from the large suppliers was recorded.
The peak month in H119 for electricity switching was April when 668,371 switches were recorded, a level 34% up on year-ago levels. March 2019 electricity switching was up by a similar 29% on year-ago levels at 615,503. The other four months were within 5% of 2018, with the exception of June’s 9% fall. The gas switching peak was in January at 572,038, a level more than double a year earlier due to the inclusion of supplier of last resort (SoLR) portfolio switches of failed suppliers. March and April 2019 gas switches were 12% and 42% up on year-ago levels at 495,064 and 535,674 respectively.
The two months of peak market switching were those around the raising of the two price caps, suggesting the news flow around this event has prompted consumers to engage.
Without this spike, switching would still have maintained the then-record levels seen a year ago. Energy switching then was 17% up on H117.
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