Financial savings remain biggest switching driver

Just 6 per cent of switchers motivated by smart meter offers

Saving money remains the biggest reason for consumers to switch energy suppliers, new Utility Week research shows.

In a survey of more than 1,000 UK adults, over three quarters of those with experience of switching energy suppliers said that making financial saving was their primary motivation.

Just 6 per cent of respondents said they were motivated by the desire to get a smart meter installed and just 5 per cent said they were interested in better customer service.

The findings come despite significant focus across the energy supply base on strategies to diversify and improve customer experience, via new home services offers, smart home products, bundling and other features.

The Utility Week research, conducted in partnership with consumer research firm Harris Interactive, was a repeat of a switching survey carried out in January.

The results of the survey remained broadly consistent with those of six months ago, showing that dual fuel customers are the most likely to switch (62 per cent) while customers with separate accounts for electricity and gas seemed less inclined to move – 49 per cent and 44 per cent of customers said they have switched supplier for each of these energy types, respectively.

Likewise, dual fuel customers are the most likely to look for better deals with their current supplier.

As in January, the majority of respondents with switching experience said that they last moved suppliers more than two years ago. Of those that have switched within the last 12 months, 33 per cent said that this was their first switching experience, slightly down on January’s result when the proportion was 37 per cent.

For the first time, Utility Week asked respondents what platform they last used to switch. The majority (59 per cent for dual fuel customers) said they used a price comparison website.

The next most popular way to switch was by phoning a supplier direct with 25 per cent of dual fuel customers opting for this method. Phone calls were more popular with first time switchers however with 38 per cent opting to pick up the phone to unearth a better deal. This compared to just 15 per cent of serial switchers.

Of those respondents who had never switched supplier, 39 per cent said that they had no plans to do so. 

Last month, trade body Energy UK published switching figures which claimed around 2.5 million customers have switched suppliers this year.

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