Londoners ‘least likely to switch electricity supplier’

Customers in the London region are the “least likely to switch electricity supplier”.

The 10 places in England with the lowest number of switches between October 2015 and September 2016 were all within the Greater London area, according to research by Citizens Advice. Kensington and Chelsea had the fewest switches in England, with just 6.5 per cent of households switching electricity supplier.

Citizens Advice also estimated that 4.7 million households have stayed with the same supplier for at least 10 years, and has urged local authorities to run collective switches in a bid to help local people switch. It has also called for suppliers to look at billing loyal customers with low incomes on the standard tariff at a cheaper rate.

The charity blamed the high number of privately rented homes (900,000) for the lack of switching in London as tenants don’t always realise they can switch themselves or have to take extra steps to switch.

Peterborough in Cambridgeshire has the highest switching rates with 19.4 per cent of households changing supplier between October last year and September 2016. Citizens Advice also notes that 39 per cent of homes in Kensington and Chelsea are rented from private landlords, compared to 20 per cent in Peterborough.

Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: “Switching supplier can cut hundreds of pounds off electricity bills but many people aren’t switching. This means that loyal customers and private renters, who can face multiple barriers to switching, are left paying a premium on costly standard tariffs.

“We have had long standing concerns about the energy market failing people. It is high time that energy suppliers found a way to help loyal customers save money on their bills. One way they could do this would be to bill customers who are on a low income on the standard tariff at a cheaper rate, creating savings for those who can benefit the most.”

The data provided by Electralink also showed that Westminister had the second lowest percentage of households switching in England (7 per cent). Cheshire East followed Peterborough for the highest number of switches with 18 per cent.

The three places with the fewest people switching supplier outside Greater London are Broxbourne in Hertfordshire (10.9 per cent), followed by Purbeck in Dorset (11 per cent) and the Isle of Wight (11.1 per cent).

The figures come after Ofgem announced switching had soared by 30 per cent in the first six months of 2016 as more than 3.8 million people changed energy supplier, around a million more than the same period in 2015.