New Utility Week research shows that 37 per cent of customers who switched energy supplier last year did so for the first time.

The research, conducted by Utility Week in partnership with Harris Interactive, surveyed over 1,000 UK adults on their experience of energy switching.

While almost a third of customers said that they had never switched energy supplier, 37 per cent of those who had switched within the last 12 months also said that this was their first experience of switching. The figure applies to all energy accounts, including dual fuel and seperate gas and electricity accounts.

Commenting on the survey findings, Mark Brenton, head of energy research at Harris Interactive, said that “despite the fact that there is still a good proportion of people who have never switched their energy supply,” the research shows that “measures that have been put in place, and associated news coverage and publicity to try and make customers more engaged, appear to be working.”

The figures come on the back of evidence that 2016 was a record year for energy switching. Energy UK said last week that almost one million more people changed supplier last year, an increase of 26 per cent on 2015.

Other findings from Utility Week’s research show that the vast majority of customers who had switched supplier (93 per cent) found the process either “very easy and straightforward” or “fairly easy and straightforward”.

However, when asked what worries they had about switching, double billing came out top (33.2 per cent), followed by the concern that a new deal might leave them worse off (24.6 per cent). Fifteen per cent of respondents said they worried about their gas and/or electricity supply being cut off as a result of switching.

Saving money was bar far the biggest motivator for switching energy supplier with 75 per cent of respondents saying this way their main reason. Just short of 10 per cent said they switched to get better customer service, while 3.4 per cent said they wanted to access greener energy deals.

Brenton observed: “It is no surprise that saving money is clearly the main motivation for those that have switched but, although double-billing is a worry for many, the vast majority of the switchers found the process relatively straightforward so continued promotion of how easy it is now to switch supplier will hopefully overcome any concerns that consumers still have.”

This research was the first iteration of what will become a regular switching experience survey conducted by Utility Week and Harris Interactive.

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