The country's biggest energy companies are losing customers to independent supplies at a faster rate than ever, new research has shown.
Over one in six (17.4 per cent) dual-fuel households – that get both their gas and electricity from the same supplier – are now with an independent provider, up from one in eight a year ago, according to research from Cornwall Energy.
The big six – made up of British Gas, EDF Energy, npower, E.ON, Scottish Power, and SSE – have lost 7.1m duel-fuel customers to one of the market’s challenger firms since 2011.
The number of dual-fuel customers now signed up to independent energy providers has grown by an average of nine per cent every quarter for the last year and the most recent data from Ofgem shows that 40 per cent of all switches in 2015 were to independent suppliers.
In 2015 2.2m customers switched to independent suppliers.
“This data shows one of the biggest shifts to independents in the past 12 months,” said Cornwall Energy’s Robert Buckley.
The dual-fuel market share of the big six has fallen from 99.3 per cent in 2011 to 82.6 per cent in 2016.