Consumer organisation Which? has discovered that consumers in the South East are collectively paying £525m a year more than they need to by not switching their energy tariff to the cheapest deal.
To help people get a cheaper energy deal Which?, in partnership with online campaigners 38 Degrees, is launching a collective switching campaign called The Big Switch.
Over the last four years people have missed out on over £16 billion by not switching tariffs. According to the regulator Ofgem, six out of ten people have never switched.
From the consumer champion’s own investigations, the sheer number of tariffs on the market and the complex array of deals makes it almost impossible for many people to get the best price.
The Big Switch is a completely new way for people to buy their energy. This will be the first time in the UK that a large number of people can join together as a group to negotiate a deal with energy companies. Which? and 38 Degrees are urging people to join The Big Switch to use their collective power to cut their energy bills and help shake up the market.
Which? is inviting all energy companies to take part and will be negotiating with them to secure the cheapest deal for all the people that join in by 31 March. Energy companies will be invited to submit a market leading deal and take part in a reverse auction. The winning deal will then be offered to everyone who signed up, including a personalised savings estimate. Which? will handle the switching process, making it as quick and easy as possible.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “Thousands of people tell us that they want a much better, affordable energy deal. It’s a £4 billion free kick for the energy companies if so many of us stick with their more expensive tariffs.
“The government, regulator and energy companies have failed to move quickly enough to improve things for consumers when so many are struggling to pay their bills.
“That’s why we decided to launch The Big Switch. This is a completely new way to buy energy as a group. The bigger the group, the stronger our bargaining power will be.
“We are urging people in the South East who are angry about the state of the energy market to sign up. The Big Switch is the first chance to do this in the UK, and an opportunity for the energy suppliers to demonstrate that they’re serious about changing their ways and putting consumers first.”