What type of energy switcher are you?

Although energy switching usually increases year-on-year, it seems the uncertainity of the last 12 months took its toll on the energy market as a whole.

Not only did prices sharply drop during the first lockdown before steadily rising agsin, but data from ElectraLink’s Energy Market Data Hub (EMDH) shows that housholds switching habits also fluctuated, as switching energy supplier dropped by 2.3% in 2020, compared to 2019.

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White plastic light switch on white wall.

UK energy switches hit six million following 493,000 switches in December 2020, which was higher than than December 2018, but 6.4% than December 2019.

But why did fewer people switch in a year that arguably more of us needed to save money? Does this indicate that people don't just switch to save money and there are actually other reasons to make the change?

It seems not all energy customers have the same motivations - what type of energy switcher are you?

Why do people switch energy supplier?

Saving money is the main reason most of us make the switch. An Ofgem consumer survey found that 91% of switchers cited saving money as their number one motive for switching – using UKPower’s switching service could save you as much as £491* on your annual energy bills. Simply enter your postcode at the top of the page to run an instant energy comparison and see how much you could save.

Other reasons for switching included: getting better customer service, wanting to tie in to a fixed term deal, and even something as simple as wanting a dual fuel package.

It's interesting to take a look at people's switching habits during comparative periods over the last couple of years:

  • Large supplier to large supplier switches reached 221,000 – 16% less than December 2019 and 45% of December 2020’s total switches completed
  • Large supplier to smaller supplier switches reached 142,000 – 15% more than December 2019 and 29% of December 2020’s total switches completed
  • Smaller supplier to larger supplier switches landed at 79,000 – 14% less than December 2019 and 16% of December 2020’s total switches completed
  • Smaller supplier to smaller supplier switches hit 51,000 – 8% more than December 2019 and 10% of December 2020’s total switches completed.

Although money is usually the main priority when switching, it's clear that you should also consider other factors when switching supplier.

What type of energy switcher are you?

You may not realise it, but as an energy switcher, you’ll fall into one of six categories:

1. The Happy Shopper – Saving money is your top priority, and you enjoy shopping around and comparing quotes to find the best deal. Positive about switching, you are confident, trusting and engaged with the energy market and price comparison websites.
2. The Savvy Searcher – You’re just as confident, engaged, and positive as a Happy Shopper, but a little sceptical about price comparison websites. This means you use more than one site to compare quotes, to make absolutely sure you’re getting the best deal. To find out more about UKPower, including how we make money and can offer our switching service for free, check out our FAQs page.
3. The Market Skeptic – Although you might be relatively engaged when it comes to switching insurance or broadband provider, a lack of trust in the UK’s energy companies means you’re not as engaged when it comes to switching gas and electricity.
4. The Hassle Haters – Although you’re confident in your ability to engage in the market and, for the most part, trust the energy companies, you feel you’re on a good deal, and might only be tempted away by better customer service, or easier billing and payment methods. You’re also put off switching by the perceived time, hassle and risks involved – don’t let this perception put you off, switching is quick and hassle-free.
5. The Anxious Avoider – A low-level of engagement across all markets, but specifically in the energy market, means you’re unlikely to shop around or research ways in which you can save money on your annual bills.
6. The Contented Conformer – You’re happy to leave things as they are, as the idea of shopping around fills you with dread. You worry about the perceived risks involved in switching, particularly to any suppliers outside the Big Six, and think you’ll be overwhelmed with choice, not even saving money or better customer service can convince you too shop around.

If you fall into the top three categories, there’s a good chance you’ll be paying a lot less on everything from insurance to energy, than those in the bottom three segments.

If you do think you could well be a Hassle Hater, and Anxious Avoider, or a Contented Confomer, don’t let your misconceptions put off comparing quotes and switching to a better deal – watch this short video to see just how easy and hassle-free switching really is…

How to switch energy supplier

How to switch energy supplier with UKPower. Simply enter your postcode and we'll compare energy prices from a range of suppliers. You then choose the one you prefer and we'll take care of the rest.


What's stopping you from switching

There are all sorts of things that put people off switching energy supplier, but many fears are actually completely unfounded.

The Ofgem study mentioned above also looked at why people might be averse to switching, and found over a quarter (28%) of those less-engaged consumers saw a potential increase in costs as the main barrier to switching. But there is one really simple way around that – switching to a fixed rate deal means you lock in the rate you pay for each unit of energy you use. Although your bills will still go up and down, depending on how much energy you use each month, this is the most effective way to keep on top of costs and beat the price hikes.

A further 10% of respondents were worried their supply might be cut off during the switch, but the gas and electricity still enters your property through the existing pipes and cables, so there is little, if any, chance that your supply will stop at any point.

And 4% were worried their supplier might go bust – although this is unlikely, it’s a legitimate concern, particularly given the number of smaller, independent suppliers entering the market. But even if your supplier goes bust, Ofgem has a contingency in place that means you’ll automatically be moved to a new supplier, with no disruption to your service, and no need for you to do anything.

For more information, check out What to do if your energy supplier goes bust.

How to get the best energy deal

Switching energy supplier is a quick and simple way to knock hundreds of pounds off the cost of your annual energy bills – but with so many suppliers offering so many different tariffs, choosing the best one can be a bit tricky. The simplest way to see what deals are on offer is to run a price comparison with UKPower.

What type of energy switcher are you? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

Click here to run an energy price comparison, and see if you could be paying less for your gas and electricity.

Les Roberts - Energy Expert at UKPower

Les Roberts - Energy Expert at UKPower

If you’ve got an issue with your energy supplier, our consumer champion Les is on hand to help. A decade in consumer affairs means Les understands how confusing energy tariffs can be, so he'll cut through the jargon to help make sure you get the best deal.