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British Gas caught out by 'perfect storm' in energy market

28 July 2016

New figures show 61% of energy switchers chose smaller providers in first six months of 2016 

  • The march of the new energy providers puts British Gas on the back foot as 400,000 customers switch away to other energy suppliers;
  • 28 new energy providers in last three years means more competition for big six

As British Gas confirm that 400,000 of its customers left to find a new supplier in the first half of the year, new figures from Gocompare.com Energy reveal that, in the same period, over 61% of consumers switching energy provider chose a smaller provider, rather than the big six.
 
The drift to newer, smaller providers appears to be quickening pace, too.  For the whole of 2015, the corresponding figure was just over 59%. 
 
In the last three years, 28 new energy providers have joined the market, with 13 in 2015 alone.  Brands like Avro, Green Star Energy, extraenergy and GnERGY are still relatively new to the market but have all featured in the best buy tables in recent months, fuelling a price war that has made life increasingly hard for the big six.
 
Table showing proportion of energy switches to either 'big six' or smaller energy suppliers between 1 January 2016 and 30 June 2016, via Gocompare.com

2016

January

February

March

April

May

June

YTD

Big 6

40.28%

41.87%

41.95%

50.04%

24.06%

29.08%

38.94%

Other

59.72%

58.13%

58.05%

49.96%

75.94%

70.92%

61.06%




Ben Wilson, energy spokesperson at Gocompare.com, said: "British Gas has been caught out by a perfect storm that's been brewing in the energy market for the last two years.  Falling wholesale energy prices coupled with a raft of new entrants coming into the sector, competing for market share. 
 
"As a result, energy customers have had more choice than ever with many of the new providers featuring prominently in the energy best buy tables in recent years, often undercutting each other in a furious price war.  As we can see from the figures, consumers have taken advantage of a unique set of market conditions to bag themselves an energy bargain, at the expense of British Gas and the other big providers.
 
"A typical household could save as much as £292* a year by switching their gas and electricity provider, proving that loyalty doesn't pay when it comes to your energy supplier. Comparing energy tariffs online is quick and easy to do, making it well worth setting aside a few minutes to see how your provider stacks up against the rest of the market."

See Gocompare.com's guides for more information on switching energy supplier.

ENDS-

Notes to editors:

*Based on Gocompare.com data. At least 51% of customers who received a price for switching energy supplier for both gas and electricity with Gocompare.com saved £292 or more 01 January - 31 March 2016)