Savvy energy switchers reach six-year high in bid for better deal

The number of people shopping around for a better energy deal has hit a six-year high as more than seven million people changed suppliers in 2016.

According to new data from Ofgem, 7.7 million gas or electricity switches took place last year – 1.6 million more than the previous year, meaning a rise of 28 per cent.

Switching also reached its highest level since 2010, with around 15.8 per cent across gas and electricity customers. Of this number, nearly half (47 per cent) were to small or medium suppliers as they continue to take business from the Big Six suppliers.

In recent weeks some suppliers have announced price rises for customers on standard variable tariffs, which are typically more expensive than fixed deals. But despite rising switching rates, however, around two-thirds of customers still remain on standard variable tariffs.

Ofgem’s CEO Dermot Nolan said: “While today’s figures show good progress, the market is not as competitive as we would like. That is why we have put a temporary price cap in place to protect people on prepayment meters who have the least access to competitive deals and why we are pursuing a raft of reforms which will make this market fairer, smarter and more competitive for consumers.”