Seven out of ten energy switchers opt for smaller providers.
With three energy companies now offering dual fuel bills that cost less than £1,000 a year*, analysis from Gocompare.com has shown that the vast majority (70.5%) of people who have switched energy provider recently chose a small supplier, while just over a quarter (29.5%) opted for a tariff from one of the UK's 'big six'.**
Jeremy Cryer, energy spokesperson at Gocompare.com, said: "Hardworking consumers are starting to benefit from increased competition in the energy market as small energy providers, and a couple of the UK's energy giants, introduce competitive fixed rate tariffs. In fact, there's only an average of £110 a year difference between the first and tenth cheapest dual fuel tariffs currently available.
"At present, Co-operative Energy, First Utility and Extra Energy are all offering combined gas and electricity tariffs with an average annual cost of less than £1,000. It is deals such as these that account for the fact that most energy switchers over the last few months have opted for smaller providers. People are increasingly aware that small energy companies can be just as reliable as their big competitors, and the prospect of lower bills is clearly convincing many people to give them a go.
"While some of the table-topping tariffs are competitive in many areas of the UK and for a wide range of customers, there's no one-tariff-fits-all option, and people must remember to compare lots of different providers to be sure of finding the deal that's best for them and their particular set of circumstances.
"When comparing energy tariffs remember to look past the name of the company offering them, and instead focus on whether or not your needs will be met in terms of the way you prefer to manage your account, early exit fees or other charges, as well as price."
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Based on dual fuel, payment by monthly direct debit, averaged across all UK regions and for households with an annual energy usage of 13,500kWh gas and 3,200kWh electricity (medium user). Correct as of 28/07/2014.
For more information on smaller energy suppliers, read Gocompare.com's com's guide, here: http://www.gocompare.com/gas-and-electricity/small-energy-suppliers/
Gocompare.com's top tariff tips:
- Sign up online - online tariffs are usually the cheapest option. You won't get paper bills and will be able to submit meter readings and manage your account via your supplier's website or, in some cases, through smartphone apps. If you prefer to manage your account offline be sure to check the small print though, as some suppliers will charge extra for paper bills and telephone support.
- Combine fuels - if you have both mains gas and electricity, it's worth considering signing up to a dual fuel tariff with the same supplier. It can save you money as energy companies may give discounts for buying both fuels from them.
- Pay by monthly direct debit - this is the cheapest payment method. However, make sure you supply monthly meter readings to avoid over- or under-paying and potentially ending up having to up your monthly payment significantly.
- Fix - signing up to a fixed tariff can be a gamble, as you won't benefit from any price reductions, but if it's consistency in energy pricing you're after, these tariffs are for you. Be aware that most suppliers, but not all, charge cancellation fees should you terminate your contract early, though.
- Shop around regularly - if you find that you could be paying less for your energy elsewhere, switch. Likewise, when you get a letter from your supplier informing you that your current deal is coming to an end, go to a comparison site and compare the tariffs available immediately. It takes around four to six weeks to transfer from one supplier to another, so as soon as you get this letter it's time to look at what other tariffs are available.
Notes to editors
*Co-operative Energy, First Utility and Extra Energy currently offer dual fuel tariffs that have an annual average cost of less than £1,000 a year (Based on payment by monthly direct debit, averaged across all UK regions and for households with a 'medium' annual energy usage of 13,500kWh gas and 3,200kWh electricity).
**Based on customers who switched energy provider using Gocompare.com between 20 February 2014 and 30 June 2014.