Almost half of energy customers have switched supplier in the last four years, research published by the Energy Switch Guarantee (ESG) has revealed.
In total 48 per cent of those surveyed said they had switched energy provider, higher than those who said they switched home insurance (35 per cent), broadband (31 per cent), telephone provider (24 per cent) and bank (14 per cent).
Launched in 2016 by Energy UK, the ESG is a voluntary industry initiative set up to ensure switching is “hassle-free and quick” for customers.
A total of 32 per cent of consumers are aware of the guarantee and of those who have heard of it, 70 per cent say it would make them more confident about switching supplier.
The survey also found that over a third of those who haven’t switched energy supplier are happy with their current supplier’s service (39 per cent) or with the price of their tariff (34 per cent).
Two in five of the those aged 65 and over who haven’t switched supplier in the past four years said they would if their current supplier’s customer service deteriorates.
Cost was the main reason for switching for the majority of respondents, with 79 per cent prepared to switch because of the price of their tariff.
Furthermore 83 per cent of consumers who have made the switch are happy with the process.
Energy UK’s latest switching figures have revealed that 668,371 customers moved to a new suppler in April, the highest numbers ever recorded, and an increase of 34 per cent on the same month in 2018.
This brings the total number of switches in 2019 so far to more than two million, 18 per cent higher than at this point last year. The total also beats figures from March by around 6.8 per cent.
Last year was a record year for switching according to Energy UK, with over 5.8 million customers making a change.
The ESG research was conducted by Populus, following Ofgem’s announcement of the energy price cap increase that came into effect in April.
When asked about the price cap, 70 per cent of energy customers said that they have heard about it but four in five (78 per cent) said that it would not affect their switching behaviour.
Pamela Taylor, independent chair of the Energy Switch Guarantee, advised consumers not to rely on the price cap for a fair deal and instead urged them to switch supplier.
Taylor said: “It is encouraging that 83 per cent of consumers say that they’re happy with the switching process especially when record numbers of customers continue to switch every month.
“However, the research shows that the Energy Switch Guarantee still has more work to do to ensure that all consumers experience high levels of satisfaction when it comes to switching and that awareness of the guarantee increases.
“Wholesale prices have fallen significantly in the last few months – which means there are now many good deals and potential savings on offer.
“My advice to consumers is not to rely on the price cap for a fair deal when they can switch supplier for a better one and potentially save hundreds of pounds.
“With the guarantee in place, consumers should feel confident to choose the best deal for them without worrying about their switch, losing supply or when they will receive their final bill.
“The guarantee covers around 85 per cent of the market and the signatories are committed to making switching simple, speedy and safe.”
According to an exclusive survey carried out by Harris Interactive on behalf of Utility Week into consumer attitudes about energy pricing, the price cap and switching, an overwhelming majority agreed or strongly agreed that a limit on typical standard variable tariffs (SVTs) should remain in place.
In terms of attitudes towards the cap itself, 68 per cent of respondents agreed the government’s price fix should stay, with a similar number feeling it had been necessary to bring it in.
Only three per cent strongly disagreed with its introduction.