Loyalty doesn’t pay where energy is concerned

The Big Six energy companies are making the news again with talk of a new price freeze, SSE have already committed until 2016.

90% of UK consumers still buy their energy from the Big Six energy suppliers


A welcomed shift in attitude you may be thinking? Or maybe just a last ditch attempt at dissuading the consumer from switching energy supplier? The fact that 90% of us still buy our gas and electricity from one of the Big Six suppliers would suggest we are not doing all we can to shop around for a better deal, yet these days this is due more to a lack of faith, rather than lack of knowledge.

Deregulation has been around now for years but the monopoly of the Big Six suppliers remains. Many consumers I speak with still think it is too much of a hassle to switch, whilst some have been duped by an unscrupulous salesperson before the market became more thoroughly regulated into a contract that did not live up the expectation, others have changed to a supplier from their tried and trusted company and found the new suppliers customer service not up to standard. There are of course many other reasons why some consumers remain hesitant to switch, however, the fact remains that loyalty simply does not pay.

Better the devil you know?

In a recent survey by Which? Consumer survey had two of the UK’s smaller suppliers Ecotricity and Good Energy at the top of their chart with a mightily impressive 82% score, closely followed by other smaller UK suppliers OVO Energy, Utility Warehouse and Ebico. The Big Six averaged a measly 40% score in comparison. Of those of us surveyed, none of us seemed overly impressed by our Big Six energy supplier yet still the faith in switching suppliers seems to have been lost.

I’m happy with my current supplier

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times. Ask yourself, what is it that my supplier is doing to make me so happy? Our gas and electric all comes from the same place, down the same pipes and cables, the only difference to the consumer is who we buy it from. Why pay more for a more widely recognised logo? The main reason you won’t have heard of many of the smaller suppliers is simple, they do not have millions to spend on expensive advertising budgets and historically they have not been raising prices so heavily. This is surely is more of a reason to consider them, rather than dismiss them? With comparison sites such as uSwitch and Compare the Market there really is no excuse but to explore what options are out there, see where your current supplier lies in terms of price in your area. If money is tight would you shop at Aldi or Waitrose? There is no difference when it comes to buying energy.

Customers who keep the same energy supplier for years on average pay £90 more than they need to

You may have been contacted recently by your supplier to inform you your prices will not rise for the next 12 months, great news but still check if that’s comparable in your area, if you an get it cheaper elsewhere and still fix down the price then what is the difference? If your current supplier has left you paying their standard tariff, or the Cheapest Evergreen Tariff as it is now known, then what loyalty have they shown you? What haven’t they contacted you and immediately offered you a better deal? Simple answer is they have no need to, if you have never switched they have no reason to offer you better terms as you are a safe bet to never leave. Think smarter and shop around for a better deal, if you are unsure how, there are plenty of companies out there that can help you. Switch and save today!


Thinking Thrifty
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Thinking Thrifty

David Naylor is the editor of the Thinking Thrifty blog. After a striking realisation about the direction his life was heading he set himself a 15 year plan to achieve total financial freedom. Join the journey!

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