Should you ditch the big six in 2016?

Image of a child touching a switch
A very literal interpretation of switching being so easy a child could do it
"Often there can be nothing to lose by switching to one of these challenger energy companies” Ben Wilson, Gocompare.com
  • | by Kristian Dando

Have you made any new year’s resolutions? If not, then perhaps exploring the possibility of switching to a smaller energy company should be one of them.

Customers have been fed up with the high tariffs and poor customer service of the ‘big six’ energy companies for years. But now, they’re deserting them for smaller companies in their droves.

In fact, according to research from Gocompare.com, 60% of energy switchers depart for an energy provider outside of the big six, such as First Utility, Extra Energy, Ovo Energy or Co-operative Energy.

These smaller energy companies outperform the big players in the market in customer satisfaction surveys, such as the annual one conducted by Which?

They may also offer better environmental credentials or, quite simply, better prices.

Buying British may also be a pull for consumers. Most of the big six energy firms are owned by foreign companies – British Gas is owned by global giant Centrica, while E.On is German. On the other hand, the likes of Ovo Energy, Ecotricity and Good Energy are based entirely in the United Kingdom.

Gocompare.com energy expert Ben Wilson said: “Many of these suppliers have good reputations for customer service and some have even scrapped early exit fees on their fixed-term tariffs, so often there can be nothing to lose by switching to one of these challenger energy companies.”

If you’re tempted to make the switch, now might be an ideal occasion – many big six fixed-price tariffs are coming to an end on December 31, so it’s the prime time to scour the market for a great deal.

Ben Wilson said:  “When comparing energy tariffs it’s important to look beyond the brand – you won’t notice a difference in the gas and electricity that comes through your wires and pipes no matter who supplies it – focus instead on how much the tariffs will cost you based on your specific usage habits.”

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