Gas and electricity Updated:
When was the last time you switched energy supplier? Chances are, it was a while ago – and you may never have even considered doing such a thing. If so, you're not alone, as research shows that a large proportion of consumers have never switched, but staying loyal could be costing them dearly.
Figures from energyhelpline.com show that a quarter of UK households have never switched supplier while a fifth haven't done so in over five years, and one in 10 have never even considered it. However, this means that, collectively, UK households have spent £6.5bn more than they needed to in the last 12 months alone, with this kind of overspending putting unnecessary pressure on individual budgets.
By failing to switch – or even be aware of the alternatives – many people will be stuck on high standard rate tariffs, but they may not even be aware of the issue. Almost a quarter of respondents (24%) admitted that they don't know how their energy bills compare with others while 52% think that they've got a good deal, and three-quarters are unaware that there could be savings to be made through switching to a cheaper supplier.
This is despite the fact that the UK's most popular gas tariff has increased by 29% in the past five years, while the most popular electricity tariffs have risen by 14% in just three years. Indeed, many people remain on these popular expensive standard tariffs, with typical bills costing £1,098 a year.
The figures went on to reveal that up to £533 could be saved per year by switching energy tariff, but only 27% of respondents believed this to be true. This is even more worrying considering it's the poorest households that are losing out the most: half of households earning £15,000 or less say they're happy on their current deal and 25% have never switched supplier, even though this is the demographic that stands to truly benefit.
This all points to a major lack of awareness when it comes to what the UK should be paying for its energy, the report noted, and Mark Todd, of energyhelpline.com, believes that more needs to be done to educate consumers on good energy deals and the power of switching.
"There's plenty of money to be saved from switching energy tariff," he said, "but this research exposes that tens of millions of people are still overpaying unnecessarily just because they don't know how much they can save. The fact is that domestic energy prices are sky-high, and the energy giants show no sign of reducing tariffs to match dropping wholesale prices.
"Switching remains the most powerful weapon available to people in the war against high energy bills. This knowledge needs to be spread far and wide. We urge the Government to do more to deliver greater education and encouragement for consumers to switch and save, so every UK household can get a tariff they deserve."
When there's so much money to be saved, why not see what else is out there? You may think you're on the best energy deal possible, but you'll never know for sure unless you look, so compare tariffs using our handy search tool and see if you can cut your energy bills down to size.
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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