Gas and electricity Updated:
It's official – price comparison sites are the best way to switch energy supplier. Or at least, they're the most popular way to switch. Research from regulator Ofgem found that more consumers than ever are using comparison sites to shop around for their gas and electricity, beating phoning suppliers directly as the main method.
According to the figures, 31% of switchers used a comparison service when they last changed energy company – up from 26% 2013 – while 27% phoned the supplier directly, meaning consumers use comparison sites more than any other method. The results highlight how quickly these sites are becoming the norm for energy shoppers, and considering how beneficial they can be, it's no wonder they're so popular.
Mark Todd, of independent price comparison site energyhelpline.com, commented on the findings: "Customers are right to be using energy price comparison sites rather than going to suppliers to switch their energy. On a price comparison site, a customer can get a full market view in just a few minutes – something that would take days if they were to contact each of the 25 different companies separately. Industry rules mean customers can't save any more going direct either, so it's a no-brainer to save time and use a comparison site."
By using a comparison site, customers will get an instant overview of all the different tariffs available to them – as well as how much they can save with each one – while also getting independently-compiled service ratings to help them make the right decision. Consumers can even save an average of £220 per year (according to energyhelpline) by using such a site, so it could be hugely advantageous.
Given the benefits, and the clear increase in people using comparison services, Ofgem has proposed some changes to bolster the Confidence Code scheme and ensure it offers consumers the choice and information necessary.
Their plans include updating the rules so that more comparison sites can apply – currently 11 sites are covered by the code, including Moneytacts' partner energyhelpline – and improving the consumer protection measures that the Code requires of its members. Those who live up to the standards expected are allowed to display the Confidence Code badge, which tells consumers that they can trust the site's advice.
Rachel Fletcher, Ofgem senior partner, said: "Price comparison sites are a great tool to use when energy shopping, and it's good to see more consumers using them. However, consumers quite rightly want to know that recommendations are trustworthy, and the Confidence Code badge is a quick and easy way to check that the information is independent, accurate and reliable."
Find the right energy deal using our search tool, provided by Confidence Code-approved energyhelpline
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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