Two million might have switched, but that should be just the beginning

By OVO Energy Thursday 14 August 2014

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Over the next 18 months, a major investigation into the energy market will be taking place, led by the Competition and MarketsAuthority (the CMA). The CMA will be looking at whether the way the UK energy market works today is actually preventing or harming competition between different energy suppliers. OVO believes competition between suppliers is the most effective way of ensuring customers are getting a fair deal, and right now it’s not working properly. We think some big changes are needed. So we’ll be participating fully in the investigation, fighting for the best possible outcomes for our customers. 

You might have read in the news last week that two million electricity customers have switched their custom away from the Big Six to smaller providers.

While it's great to see more people making an active choice - and we're delighted that a number twice the population of Birmingham have decided to look to providers like ourselves for a better deal - we shouldn’t get carried away. Despite these figures there is still a great deal of work to be done.

Sadly, two million isn't that many when you consider that, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) there are almost 28 million electricity and 22 million gas customers in the UK.

Looking at the numbers today, you can see a different story: Government figures show less than 3% of people switched their electricity and gas provider in the quarter of this year - a huge drop on the previous quarter.

In fact, energy regulator Ofgem published a report in March of this year showing that the number of people switching supplier has actually fallen steadily over the past five years, with 2013 seeing the second lowest number of annual switches since records began.

The bottom line is that the Big Six still dominate, holding 90% of the market. It’s clear that switching to find the best deal is still far from the norm for the majority of consumers.

This is a serious problem. Government and industry research shows that customers who don’t switch are consistently being charged more than those who do. Some figures show up to £300! Consumers are best off when companies have to constantly fight for their custom. It encourages better deals, fairer prices and better service. But when providers can rely on a steady stream of customers no matter what they do, there is no impetus for change. We need to keep working to make switching supplier the norm, not a novelty.

Ofgem have found that 62% of people haven't ever switched supplier, even though the vast majority do understand that it’s possible. There are numerous reasons why consumers don’t switch, from a general lack of trust that they will be treated differently elsewhere, to the mistaken belief that the savings they could make won’t justify the hassle. This is despite the fact switching to OVO only takes five minutes and could save you an average £160. Right now many people spend more time trying to save money on a £10 toaster than they do on £1000 energy bill. We want to help people become aware of the options they have, and encourage them to get switching!

Consumers have been starved of choice for too long. We shouldn't rest until every energy customer out there is not only aware of their right to switch, but is comfortable doing so on a regular basis. Only then will we start to see significant positive change in the market.

Over the next 18 months the Competition and Markets Authority (the CMA) will be undertaking a major investigation into the way that the UK energy market works. Today OVO will be handing in our first submission. We support the investigation wholeheartedly, as we believe that competition between suppliers is the most effective way of ensuring that customers get a fair deal. We should be fighting for your business, with better service, better value and better products.

Download our full Response to the Competition and Markets Authority here

O​VO​ Energy Ltd, registered office 1 Rivergate Temple Quay Bristol, BS1 6ED, company no. 06890795 registered in England and Wales, VAT No. 100119879

Additional terms and conditions
Please see below for full terms and conditions on 33% renewable electricity, 3% interest rewards, exit fees and saving claims.

 

1Monthly cost - Representative monthly direct debit costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas) paying in advance by direct debit, including online discount.  All rates correct as of 06/06/2017, but may go up or down.

2Weekly cost - Representative weekly costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas).  All rates correct as of 06/06/2017, but may go up or down.

3Pay Monthly Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYM OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 03/11/2016 and 06/06/2017. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location. 

4Pay As You Go Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYG OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/01/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location. 

We include almost twice as much renewable electricity as the national average: At least 33% of electricity in all of our tariffs comes from renewable sources. The national average, according to Ofgem as at March 2014 was 16.7%. For more information please visit this page.

33% of your electricity comes from renewable sources: 33% renewable electricity as standard as of 1st April 2015. Renewable electricity is generated from wind, solar, geothermal, wave, tidal, hydro, biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment plant gas and biogas.

3% interest: Calculated at 3% per year for customers paying by advance direct debit.  The OVO Interest Reward is paid monthly based on   number of days in credit and the amount left in your account after you’ve paid your bill,  and the credit balance on which you can earn the OVO Interest Reward is capped. Terms apply: http://www.ovoenergy.com/terms/

95% of new customers save when switching to OVO: Savings based on the average estimated annual costs for all new OVO customers quoted through the OVO website, compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/05/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT.

94% of surveyed customers would recommend us: OVO conducted a survey of their customers in between 1st January 2016 and 15th April 2016. Out of 15,312 customers who responded, over 94% rated OVO 6+ when asked 'how likely would you be to recommend us to a friend and family, on a scale of 1 to 10.

Britain's top rated energy provider: Britain's top rated energy provider in the Which? 2015 satisfaction survey. Survey conducted in October 2015. Awarded in January 2016.

uSwitch's Energy Supplier of the Year: OVO energy was voted and awarded  'Energy Supplier of the year' and best for: Overall Customer Satisfaction, Most Likely to be Recommended, Value for Money, Best Deal for You, Customer Service, Billing Services, Energy Efficiency, Meter Services, Online Services, Green Services and Transfer Process. OVO Energy scored a 96% customer satisfaction score.

Which?: Achieved the highest score of 78% in the Which? Satisfaction Survey conducted in September and October 2016.

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