Thursday 28 March 2019 6:58 pm

Homes switch energy supplier at record rate as consumers face massive price hike next week

Over 4.5m households changed their gas supplier last year, hitting an all-time high, while electricity switches were at their highest point since 2008.

The number of domestic homes that switched electricity supplier hit 5.4m, a 5.5 per cent increase on the year before, figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis) show.

Read more: Ofgem price cap: What to do if your energy bills shoot up

Meanwhile monthly statistics show that the number of electricity switchers fell to 391,000 in December, from 559,000 in two months before – the busiest month since November 2013 and the second highest levels on record.

Rik Smith from Uswitch said: “Competition in the retail energy market has driven the long-term increase in switching volumes over the past decade, with peak switching years usually linked to multiple price rise announcements from energy suppliers.

“The market 10 years ago was dominated by the Big Six, at 99 per cent market share. Electricity switches for 2008 were slightly higher than in 2018 – most likely driven by the astronomical price rises announced by the Big Six during that year.”

It comes as customers are set to face £1.67bn bigger bill starting Monday as Ofgem’s energy price cap is set to rise according to research from Uswitch.

The much-criticised increase comes into force just three months after the original price cap was introduced, promising customers on average £76 of savings each year.

Energy customers in London face the second highest price rise in the country, data shows.

Read more: SSE becomes last Big Six supplier to hike energy prices

Ofgem said: “The price cap ensures that consumers remain protected from being overcharged for their energy and that any increases in the level are only due to actual rises in energy costs, rather than excess charges from supplier profiteering.

“Consumers who want to save more money can shop around for a better deal.”