Almost three quarters of energy switchers opt for smaller providers.
According to analysis from comparison website Gocompare.com, almost three out of every four (71%) people who switched their energy tariffs over the last two months opted for a small provider, while just over a quarter (29%) chose a big six supplier*.
This follows a price war launched by several smaller providers recently that has seen them offer tariffs that come with attractive, and sometimes sub-£1,000 a year, dual fuel bills.
Jeremy Cryer, energy spokesperson at Gocompare.com, said: "The UK's smaller energy providers have begun to really challenge their larger competitors, resulting in a lot of people signing up to the highly competitive fixed tariffs they have launched in recent weeks.
"This is hardly surprising, especially when some providers have introduced tariffs where people could pay, on average, under £1,000 a year for their gas and electricity. Such low bills are a particularly attractive prospect against a backdrop of recent energy price rises and intervention by the government and the regulator.
"People are getting the message that the gas and electricity they get is largely the same irrespective of what company's logo they see on their bills. All suppliers, large and small, are regulated by Ofgem and as such consumers are protected in the same way no matter who they buy their energy from.
"The main thing when shopping around for energy is to look for the tariff that represents the best value for money, not necessarily who is offering it. But also make sure that your needs will be met in terms of the way you prefer to manage your account, and look for any early exit fees or other charges."
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Based on dual fuel, payment by monthly direct debit, averaged across all UK regions and based on an annual energy usage of 13,500kWh gas and 3,200kWh electricity (medium user). Correct as of 15/05/2014.
For more information about how to switch your gas and electricity, visit: www.gocompare.com/gas-and-electricity/guide/.
Gocompare.com's top tariff tips:
- Sign up online - online tariffs are 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
*Based on customers who switched energy provider using Gocompare.com between 20 February 2014 and 1 May 2014.