We're often told of the amount we could save by switching energy supplier, and happily, the message seems to be getting through, with the number of consumers switching providers having reached record levels last year.
Figures from Energy UK show that a total of 4.8 million people changed energy supplier in 2016, up by almost a million (26%) compared with the previous year. It's also the highest figure the organisation has ever recorded, and continues the trend of increased switching seen over the past two years.
It means that the average number of monthly switches was over 400,000 during the year, with 449,921 switches taking place in December alone (an increase of 33% compared with December 2015). Not only that, but there's beginning to be a shift towards smaller suppliers, with 22% of switchers in December heading to these smaller brands.
"It is fantastic that switching levels are continuing to soar with almost five million households changing supplier last year," commented Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK. "Across the industry, energy companies are doing more to engage with their customers, making it easier for people to be on the right tariff, whether that's with their current supplier or by switching to one of the 40+ suppliers active in the market.
"The Energy Switch Guarantee also means it is simple, speedy and safe to switch, so people should check to see if they are on the best deal for them and if not – switch."
The Energy Switch Guarantee was designed to help make switching easier and provide greater confidence for customers when switching supplier, and it seems to be having the desired effect – not only are switching numbers on the rise, but additional figures show that 89% of people are satisfied with the overall switching process.
So, if you're not happy with your current supplier, now's the time to switch! It could be an even better decision considering the cold snap we're currently experiencing. According to Mark Todd of energyhelpline, the average home will be spending an extra 67p a day on heating, which adds up to a whopping £17 million a day across the country.
And if you're not on the right tariff, you could be paying a lot more than you need to. "As we reach for the boost button on the heating, households will be paying a higher price to stay warm this January," said Mark. "However, switching from a standard tariff currently saves a household as much as £183 a year, as well as giving you a fixed price. If you haven't switched you are almost certainly overpaying."
So what are you waiting for? The savings could be huge, and if one of your goals is to save more this year, you could go a long way to achieving that simply by switching your supplier. This is particularly the case if you're on a standard tariff – which were described by Citizens Advice last year as "fundamentally unfair" – but even if you aren't, you could still save a small fortune.
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.