The changing energy retail market
The energy retail market is changing. Switching is at a two year high, there are over 30 suppliers in the market, consumers are more satisfied with their energy suppliers than they were 18 months ago and there’s plenty of work going on to drive further improvements for energy customers.
Last week the Chancellor announced Government plans for strengthening consumer protection and bringing down household bills, including in energy. The news was significant for its low billing in broadcast and print media. In part this can be explained by events in the Middle East crowding out most other news content but it’s hard to argue 2013 was a quiet period for the Middle East. The reality is that things are getting better for energy customers.
Increased competition means more people are switching suppliers to take advantage of the better deals on offer. Over 400,000 customers switched electricity supplier in October. This is the highest figure for switches in the past two years. Three million customers have already switched in 2015. The latest electricity switching data also shows that around 310,000 people switch on average each month in 2015, well above the 250,000 monthly average last year.
New research from Ipsos Mori shows hard work by energy suppliers is turning into increased customer satisfaction. 68% of customers find it easy dealing with their energy suppliers, up 9% from February 2014. 62% of customers trust their supplier to be open and transparent, up 14% from February 2014. It’s clear that consumer trust in energy suppliers is moving in the right direction. But suppliers remain focused on 32% who don’t find it easy dealing with them, and the 38% who don’t trust them to be open and transparent.
Next year will see energy suppliers take forward work to further improve the switching process and to make it easier for consumers to find a better deal. Work will also continue on the roll out of smart meters to put the customer in control of their energy use. Suppliers will carry on providing support to the most vulnerable customers through their Priority Services Registers, the Energy Companies Obligation and the Warm Home Discount.
Much has been done, but energy suppliers know there’s even more to do. The aim is to put customers at the heart of the energy industry. Energy UK is committed to supporting the industry’s determination to continue to improve the services and products it provides.