Over a quarter of consumers in East Anglia switched energy supplier in 2014, says EY survey


25-02-2015

Over a quarter (28%) of consumers in East Anglia have switched gas or electricity supplier in the past year, according to the results of an EY survey.

 
  • Over a quarter (28%) of consumers in East Anglia switched supplier in 2014
  • Of those consumers that switched in 2014, 80% would consider switching again in the near future
  • Inaccurate bills stated as the main reason (46%) behind consumers’ decision to leave their current supplier
  • 40% would move within the ‘Big Six’ suppliers, compared to a quarter (25%) that would prefer new entrants


Of those consumers that changed supplier in 2014, more than eight in ten (81%) would consider switching again in the near future.

Forty per cent of consumers in the region are more likely to switch to one of the 'Big 6' energy suppliers (British Gas, SSE, Npower, EDF Energy, E. ON UK, Scottish Power), compared to 25% who would move to a new entrant to secure a better deal for their energy supply.

EY surveyed nearly 150 consumers in East Anglia to assess attitudes towards switching gas and electricity suppliers and to identify which suppliers they would consider choosing, and to determine what would drive this change.

Cathy Taylor, senior partner at EY in Cambridge, said: “While levels of awareness are admittedly still relatively low among energy consumers, the situation is certainly improving. The increased focus on living costs, as well as industry and government led campaigns have helped make shopping around to get a better deal an increasing priority for consumers in Cambridge and the East.”   

Main drivers behind switching

Asked what customer service elements would most likely cause them to decide to switch their energy supplier, 46% of consumers responded that inaccurate bills would lead them to take that decision. Unfriendly service when calling the helpline (15%) and long complaint processes (10%) were also among the top reasons that would trigger a decision to switch.

Taylor continues: “The challenge for the industry is to invest in ways to retain the confidence and loyalty of its consumer base through innovative services, an enhanced and trouble-free customer experience and empowering customers to feel in control of their energy bill.”

The survey also found that when it comes to choosing a new supplier price was the single most important factor for consumers to consider, with 80% highlighting price as key. Customer service was only considered the most important factor by 10% of respondents and sustainable energy was chosen by even fewer (5%).

Taylor adds: “The industry is now operating in a landscape of growing customer expectations and mainly price driven decisions. Concerns about energy costs can increasingly prompt consumers to think seriously about switching suppliers. Forward looking providers need to take positive action to empower customers and consider what services they can develop to address the needs of the budget conscious consumer.”

Appetite for switching is strong across the UK

The survey found consistently high numbers of consumers that have either switched supplier or are considering doing so across the whole of the UK.  

Consumers in the East Midlands lead the pack with almost a third (32%) having switched supplier in the last year. The North East and East Anglia (28%) as well as London (24%) also saw high volumes of consumers switching to a different energy supplier. In contrast, Wales scored the lowest when it comes to switching with only 17% of consumers changing supplier last year.

Looking ahead, over 35% of Londoners are considering moving to a different supplier for their gas and electricity in 2015. Energy consumers in the North West, West Midlands (24%) and the South West (23%) are the next most likely to change.  

 http://www.ey.com

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EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. With over 400 employees in our Cambridge and Luton offices, our teams provide a range of services to a variety of sectors, including manufacturing, life sciences, consumer products and retail, technology, real estate and construction, health, and the public sector. The broad array of companies across the East allows us to bring real, relevant and key insights to our clients.

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