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Brits choosing big brands over best deals on energy

A fear of the unfamiliar could be costing energy bill payers. The results of the latest Big Energy Saving Week survey show nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of those polled saying they wouldn't switch to a supplier they hadn't heard of. 

It's not just that – they wouldn't switch even if they offered a cheaper deal than the 'Big 6' suppliers.  

A surprising statistic

You could be forgiven for thinking we've made this up, given high bills are a common concern and it's widely known that the biggest suppliers aren't the most trusted.

Nonetheless, it's what we've been told. And it seems especially perplexing considering that small energy suppliers have enjoyed unprecedented growth in recent years – from just 1 per cent in 2010 to now representing 17 per cent of the market. 

Looking beyond a name

While 70 per cent say it's important their supplier is well-known and two thirds think being around a long time is key, it isn't like we hold our existing suppliers in great esteem, as Energy Saving Trust Chief Executive Philip Sellwood (pictured) stresses. He said:

Philip Sellwood CEO“Bill payers say there is little value in loyalty, with only 17 per cent believing they are rewarded with special offers or lower prices – and only 14 per cent thinking their supplier will help them if they get into debt.

“By limiting themselves to the Big 6, bill payers could be prohibiting themselves from the best deals, so we’d encourage them to widen their net and consider all the possibilities.”

The energy market's changing

You can save around £300 by switching – and that may well mean not to a company you immediately recognise. 

Yes, big brands can be a reassuring presence in a changing world – but you shouldn't stick to what you know at your own cost, without bearing in mind wider options. There's also some timely help at hand, with Big Energy Saving Week partners Citizens Advice launching a new, totally independent and ad-free price comparison tool

Change is coming. 19 per cent of people who switched supplier in September chose to go with a smaller supplier – so it may well be worth checking out whether getting on board this trend would work out for you too. 


Getting more efficient

But while people may be resisting switching, one area where there are plenty of positives to be taken is energy efficiency. 

Just 16 per cent of nearly 2,500 people polled said they hadn't taken on at least one of the seven most common home energy efficiency upgrades in the past three years. 

Of course, some measures are easier than others, and there is still plenty of potential for larger undertakings like insulation and heating upgrades to be made across the UK. 

You can make a start on getting to grips with your energy expenses and home comforts by popping to a Big Energy Saving Week event near you. The Energy Saving Advice Service (ESAS) are also waiting to answer your all your home energy questions on 0300 123 1234. 

We're giving you the chance to win money towards your energy costs - with thanks to our friends at Energy UK.

Enter the Big Energy Saving Week quiz and you could WIN £1,500 towards your energy bill.

Discover more ways to save money on your bills with our energy saving quick wins. Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, or tweet @EnergySvgTrust.

Gary Hartley is Energy Saving Trust's expert blogger. He has extensive experience researching and writing on a number of topics, with particular expertise in sustainable energy, policy, literature and sport. As well as providing regular blog content, Gary has also been published in numerous magazines and journals.

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