Switching rates up 570 per cent

The number of energy customers who have switched their energy tariffs has increased by 570 per cent, according Uswitch.com.

The price comparison website told Utility Week that there has been a near six-fold increase in the number of households that are switching their energy tariffs since price rises from British Gas and SSE were announced.

Of the switches that have been made since SSE announced its 8 per cent price rise last week, 91 per cent of them were households which transferred to fixed price deals.

A spokesperson for Uswitch.com said: “The good news is that we’re seeing a lot of people who are coming off standard tariffs, so that suggests they are people who have never switched or switched a long time ago.

“They are the people – the mass majority – that really need to be moving to bring their bills down and they need to get more engaged more generally in energy efficiency.

“So the fact that we’re seeing more of them now coming off standard and actually moving into fixed price tariffs suggests the message is starting to get through.”

The dramatic increase in switching also comes after both Prime Minister David Cameron and energy secretary Ed Davey urged consumers to switch.

On the back of the British Gas price increase, Davey said: “The competition we’ve introduced to the energy market means people have a choice.

“They can look for the best deal available; including from smaller suppliers, with the confidence that switching will make an immediate difference to their bills and force the big 6 to compete on price.”

Speaking to BBC radio, the Prime Minister added: “I’d encourage customers who are not happy with the service they’re getting and not happy with the prices to go to the switching sites online and see whether they can get a better deal.”