The short answer, probably you.
The rise of small energy suppliers has been nothing short of prophetic, as we documented recently. With an energy market worth in excess of £100 billion, small energy suppliers are fighting hard to stake their claim for a percentage. But, why would it be worth your time to go with a little-known company, rather than a multi-national corporation like the ‘Big Six’?
To find out, we looked at some of the benefits…
To win new customers and grow their business, small energy suppliers offer some of the most competitive prices on the market, with the four cheapest annual dual fuel tariffs all coming from smaller companies (Places For People Energy £823, SO Energy £816, GB Energy Supply £798, Extra Energy £797). Other perks, such as free gifts and smart meters, are also being offered by the smaller energy suppliers as an incentive to join them.
Energy Companies Obligation
It’s a fact that all the energy suppliers with over 250,000 customers must pay out around £3 billion a year (combined) as part of their obligation. This money, and the fees to be paid depends on how many customers a company has, and then each of those businesses divides that fee between their customers, working out to around £100 a year per person! Companies with less than 250,000 customers are not obliged to pay this fee, and so can offer a reduced price, as they often do. Many small energy companies state publicly that they do not (or try not to where avoidable) pass industry charges onto customers.
When changing supplier, many of the larger energy companies charge an exit fee, usually about £60. Switching to small energy suppliers may cost you £60, but many of them waive this fee if you choose to leave them. Why would they do this? It’s to show that they trust their own ability, and don’t think you’ll leave them, even if the option is free. They then have to be ultra-competitive with themselves in keeping their prices low and customer service quality high.
Fixed plan benefits
With a handful of small energy suppliers offering yearly fixed rate plans for £800 or less, the void between them and the Big Six really begins to show. The average annual fee for a Big Six company is £1150, meaning at least £350 can be saved when switching from one of them.
Scottish Power and Npower have the lowest satisfaction ratings for customer service, whereas small energy suppliers OVO Energy and Places For People Energy have the highest. Having dedicated UK call centres, great support teams and regular meter checks (more regular than the obligatory 2 years) are just some of the ways they try to do this.
An incredible variety
If you want small energy suppliers that reinvest surplus financial assets into socially beneficial causes through their trust, look to Ebico or Robin Hood Energy. If you want green, clean, renewable energy, look to Ecotricity or Green Energy UK. There are over 40 different suppliers, all with different benefits, so your decision can transcend well beyond who offers the cheapest price.
That was the long answer! So, do you think small energy suppliers are worth a shot? Our FREE My Energy Comparison Tool includes all of the UK’s energy companies and is almost guaranteed to get you a better deal than you have now.