Rising energy bills prompt five million to switch

The switching rate for gas and electricity customers has reached a five-year high with five million contracts switched in 2007.

Figures from energy regulator Ofgem show the switching rate for gas and electricity customers last year was at its highest level for five years as people went in search of cheaper deals. However, it is urging customers to continue to shop around to ensure they aren’t paying too much on their energy bills in light of the top suppliers all putting up prices in the past three months.

Ofgem also estimates that customers who have yet to switch could save on average £92 if they pay their first bill by cheque, cash or plastic. The amount they could save increases if they pay by direct debit.

Alistair Buchanan, chief executive of Ofgem, said: “The number of customers switching supplier is increasing and five million account switches alone in 2007 shows that suppliers who don’t offer competitive prices and good service will lose customers.”

The spate of energy companies increasing their bills has prompted Ofgem to launch an investigation into the market to ensure firms are not being anti-competitive.

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