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Record year for energy switching but households ‘in for shock come spring’

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Written by: Paloma Kubiak
13/01/2017
Nearly five million people switched energy supplier in 2016 - a record high - but those languishing on their suppliers’ standard variable tariff could see their bills jump in the coming months.

The latest figures from Energy UK reveals that electricity switches in 2016 reached 4.8 million, a record high since 2013 when it started to publish the data.

This is up by a quarter (26%) on 2015 and Energy UK said this continues the trend of increasing switching figures over the past two years.

The average number of monthly switches was over 400,000 in 2016 and in December, the number of people moving to a new supplier reached 449,921, up by a third (33%) compared with December 2015.

One in five (22%) of those electricity switches in December were to a smaller supplier.

Research from Energy UK also found that nine in 10 people were satisfied with the overall switching process.

However, comparethemarket.com said that while the switching figures were encouraging, they remain a “drop in the ocean”.

Peter Earl, head of energy at comparethemarket.com, said: “After a period of rising wholesale energy prices, the millions of households left on standard variable tariffs will be in for a shock come early springtime, as bills look likely to rise just after the winter months when energy consumption is highest.

“We estimate that people on standard variable tariffs could end up paying up to £106 more per year for their energy. For those who are ‘just about managing’, this will be a particularly bitter pill to swallow.”

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