Survey finds big six lose 660,000 annually to independent suppliers

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24th September 2015 15:40 - Utilities

Analysis by Cornwall Energy has revealed that as many as 660,000 households are switching from the big six utility companies, to an independent supplier, as small energy companies keep eroding the market share.

Last year, British Gas, EDF, E.ON, Scottish Power and SSE lost 660,000 customers. However, despite this they continue to be dominant in the energy market, although, they are losing their reign over supplying gas and electricity.

According to the research, small suppliers, such as First Utility, OVO and Ecotricity, increased their market dominance from 9 per cent to 13.4 per cent over the last 12 months, indicating that more than one eighth of households are now customers of an energy company other than one of the big six.

Of the independent suppliers, First Utility was found to be the largest, gaining 275,000 new customers over the period of a year. First Utility said that the sharp growth signals the level of customer dissatisfaction with the Big Six firms and the increasing awareness of the savings made when switching from a Big Six supplier, to an independent firm.

The survey has also showed that the Big Six energy providers lost 115,000 dual fuel accounts to independent suppliers in the three months prior to 31st July 2015 alone.

Ed Kamm, Chief Customer Officer at First Utility, said of the findings:

‘The dramatic growth of independent suppliers is testament to consumers wanting something different - lower energy prices and better value from their provider.

‘While so many have already switched, 40 per cent have still never made a move and over 70 per cent of the incumbents' customers are on the most expensive standard variable tariff.’

However, Executive Director at Which?, Richard Lloyd, said of the findings:

‘The Big Six have repeatedly failed to deliver a decent standard of service so it's no wonder customers are starting to leave them in droves. Despite this the CMA has found there is a lack of competition which is leading to people paying more than they should.

‘We now need the competition inquiry to bring forward radical changes to boost competition, introduce fairer prices and encourage more households to switch to better deals.’

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