Customers walk to save money
Britain’s largest energy supplier British Gas has this week announced a loss of 224,000 customers during the first quarter of 2016.
The loss, which accounts to around 1.5% of their residential customers, demonstrates the increase in households switching away from the Big 6 to the smaller suppliers. Even after this loss British Gas still has 14.4 million customer accounts and is by far the largest supplier of gas and electricity in the UK.
British Gas have put the loss of customers down to a number of long-term fixed tariffs coming to an end and customers moving elsewhere. However, it does underline the larger problems facing the Big six, which has seen them come under significant pressure from falling wholesale costs, media scrutiny, and a number of new suppliers entering the UK market. There are now 39 energy suppliers in the UK.
British Gas Chief Executive Iain Conn has said. “We continue to make good progress in implementing our strategy, and with improving levels of customer service, good operational performance, lower costs, and the launch of new products to help customers manage their energy usage, we remain on track to deliver against our 2016 targets.”
British Gas is not the first of the large energy suppliers to announce a loss in customers. In January this year, Scottish & Southern Energy also publicised a loss of more than 300,000 customers.
Mark Todd, co-founder of price comparison service Energy Helpline has commented:
“Despite cutting its standard gas prices the most of any big supplier, British Gas has lost another 224,000 customers in the first quarter of this year meaning it is losing customers at a rate of 900,000 a year.
As the UK energy market becomes more competitive, there is a massive exodus of customers from the big suppliers to new entrants. Around 2-3 million customer accounts are currently leaving the Big Six suppliers each year. New suppliers tend to offer much lower prices and often better service so it’s no surprise that customers are voting with their feet.
My tip to British Gas customers is to have a look around the energy market and see if you can save money by switching. Many can and savings of £300 a year are typical. Switching is becoming quicker and easier for example now it just takes just 2-4 weeks for a switch to occur.”