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Energy customers return to Big Six after string of small supplier collapses

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25/11/2019
More than 100,000 households switched from a small and medium-sized supplier to a large provider in October, according to Energy UK.

Figures from the trade body show 102,138 customers moved from a challenger supplier to one of the Big Six – British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, npower, Scottish Power and SSE – last month, the first time in over two years switches to big suppliers have eclipsed switches to small firms.

Peter Earl, head of energy at comparethemarket.com, said: “After years of haemorrhaging customers the Big Six have staged a comeback, clawing customers from smaller and medium-sized energy suppliers.

“British Gas appears to have woken up to the threat from start-up and challenger energy brands, going gung-ho for value with a very competitively priced tariff in an attempt to lure back customers.”

One reason for the move back to bigger firms is a string of small supplier collapses this year.

Toto Energy, an energy supplier with around 134,000 domestic customers, was the latest to go bust last month.

However, more than 200,000 customers switched from a large to a small supplier last month, around 29,000 fewer than the same time a year earlier.

More than 5 million switches this year

In total, 626,284 customers moved to a new supplier last month, down 1.1 per cent on October 2018.

This brings the total number of switches to almost 5.36 million so far this year, up 9 per cent on the same time last year.

Audrey Gallacher, director of policy at Energy UK, said: “This month’s figures show that consumers continue to take advantage of the increased competition.

“Over 5.3 million customers have already moved to a new supplier and switching is on track to hit the 6 million mark this year.

“With the temperatures dropping across the country, I’d encourage consumers to get in touch with their supplier or have a look online to make sure they’re on the best deal ahead of winter and the cold weather.”

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