As turbulence hits the energy market, with two small energy firms going bust before Christmas and Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis predicting “up to 30” more could be at risk, consumers are being urged not to fear switching their supplier.
GB Energy and Open Electric shut down shortly before Christmas, affecting more than 160,000 customers, with industry experts saying rising wholesale prices, low fixed-rate tariffs and a cold snap were leading to increased demand, which created a ‘perfect storm’ that smaller firms could not weather.
A recent national survey has found that 45 per cent of Brits have never switched energy provider
Mark Todd, co-founder of switching site Energy Helpline, acknowledged that 30 companies may be “potentially vulnerable” to closure this winter, mostly because of rising international wholesale prices. Energy Helpline expects these wholesale price increases to be passed on to consumers in the form of an average five per cent price hike in 2017.
But he said “no one needs to be scared” of switching provider because of the protection regulator Ofgem offers. “If an energy customer switches from their default option to their cheapest deal the average saving is £337 a year, enough to take most out of fuel poverty,” said Todd.
A recent national survey has found that 45 per cent of Brits have never switched energy provider. A quarter of respondents to this month’s Gocompare Energy survey said the process of changing seemed too complicated.
The Scottish Government is attempting to make it easier for Scots to make the switch. The Home Energy Scotland team is offering impartial money-saving advice, and can connect households north of the border with Citrus Energy to help search the market for the best gas and electricity rates.