860,000 households may have missed out on £1,500 by not switching energy supplier

Failing to switch energy supplier may have cost 860,000 Scottish households more than £1,500 each over the past six years – the equivalent of more than half a year of the UK’s average weekly shopping trips, according to new statistics.

Figures from Ofgem, published for Big Energy Saving Week, have revealed that 9 million households across the UK – more than a third (35%) of all households – failed to change gas or electricity provider between 2012 and 2017, with only 18%6 of people in Scotland switching in the last year alone and missing out savings of hundreds of pounds a year.

And while a YouGov survey carried out for Big Energy Saving Week reveals 36% of people across Scotland will visit multiple supermarkets to ensure we get the best deal on our weekly shop, we are not being as savvy with our energy suppliers, with millions of households remaining on the more expensive Standard Variable Tariff (SVT), despite better deals being available.

Starting today, Big Energy Saving Week is a nationwide campaign from the Energy Saving Trust, Citizens Advice, Citizens Advice Scotland and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) which helps households lower their annual spend on energy.

Mike Thornton, director of Energy Saving Trust Scotland, said: “The difference between the average Standard Variable Tariff and the cheapest deal on the market is significant, but millions of households still aren’t accessing these savings. To put that into context, switching this year could save you up to £350 – equivalent to more than a month’s worth of food shopping.

“In other words, if you haven’t switched for six years, you’ve missed out on more than six months’ of food shopping.

“With January being a tight month for household budgets, now is the time to look at switching your energy tariff to make sure you’re on the best possible deal.”

Business and energy secretary, Greg Clark, said: “We’re helping people take control of their fuel bills to reduce how much they pay for their gas and electricity.

“Big Energy Saving Week highlights how much money people can save simply by changing their energy supplier and taking action such as installing a smart meter.”

A YouGov survey carried out as part of the campaign also revealed that:

  • 64% of people in Scotland would read reviews when planning to spend £1,000, but only 16% read any reviews about their new energy supplier or tariff when they last switched, with the average dual fuel bill £1,1235
  • 22% of Scottish households are unaware or don’t know there are ways to switch supplier other than online
  • 37% of Scottish households believe there’s no point in switching because ‘all suppliers are the same’
  • As part of the Big Energy Saving Week campaign, Citizens Advice will host events across Great Britain with its volunteers and staff offering face-to-face advice to people with concerns about their energy bills, helping share information about switching and about how the Energy Switch Guarantee makes the process simple and easy.

    An online price comparison tool from Citizens Advice can help bill payers find a cheaper supplier. The comparison tool is completely impartial and includes quotes from all energy suppliers, offering a quick and easy way to find the best deals.

    Derek Mitchell, CEO Citizens Advice Scotland, said: “With many Scots experiencing a particularly cold winter this year, we are concerned that many consumers are paying over the odds to heat their homes.

    “Our data tells us that the people who would benefit most from lowering their fuel bills are often the least likely to seek help. The savings from switching can significantly lower the high costs of bills, and in some cases further support may be available.

    “We urge people to take part in Big Energy Saving Week and speak to their local CAB or to check our price comparison tool for support with switching.”

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