..some key points:
In the retail markets, the last few years have seen a sustained period of growth for new entrant suppliers outside of the Six Large Energy Firms, and their combined market share now stands at around 13% in both gas and electricity - the highest level reached since liberalisation.
..our survey results suggest that those who are on low incomes are far less likely to have engaged than those on high incomes, which undermines the argument that most customers do not take up available savings because they are not significant enough. Some categories of customer – for example, those who do not have access to the internet, those who are on particular types of restricted meter, and prepayment customers – experience specific, material difficulties in shopping around and switching. However, for the majority of domestic customers, shopping around and switching is relatively easy - yet many of these customers have never considered engaging, either because it has not occurred to them or because they think it will be too much hassle. We have found that large numbers of domestic customers do not engage in retail energy markets by shopping around or switching supplier. In our survey of 7,000 domestic customers, 34% of respondents said they had never considered switching supplier and 56% said they had never switched supplier, did not know if it was possible or did not know if they had done so. Reflecting this widespread lack of engagement, around 70% of the customers of the Six Large Energy Firms currently pay the Standard Variable Tariff (SVT), which is the default tariff (ie the tariff customers pay if they have not made an active choice), despite the fact that SVTs are much more expensive than alternative tariffs. For example, the dual fuel SVT customers of the Six Large Energy Firms (excluding prepayment customers, who, as noted below, have a very restricted range of tariffs) could have made average annual savings of around £330 in mid- 2015 if they had switched to another supplier.