Challenger energy suppliers make gains as switching leaps in July

August 7, 2020

Change of Supplier (CoS) data published today from the Energy Market Data Hub (EMDH) shows a continued recovery in switching activity from the slump that occurred during the early and middle stages of the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown. Challenger brands have fared particularly well following the easing of the lockdown.

July 2020 produced 543,000 switches completed, up 16 percent from June 2020’s 470,000 switches completed. It is also the highest number of switches completed in the month of July since records began, almost three percent higher than runner-up July 2019.

Chart showing number of energy supplier switches in the UK, most of which were challenger brands

The same positive upturn occurred for CoS started in July, as 680,000 events occurred – the second highest number for a single month so far this year. July 2020’s figure is seven percent higher than June 2020 and four percent more than July 2019.

In previous years, the number of switches started have jumped significantly from July to August. We are eager to see if this trend repeats itself.

Chart showing the number of energy supplier switches raised in the UK, including challengers

Potential causes of this increase to decent levels of activity include energy customers paying greater attention to their utilities and other regular outgoings as the country eases out of lockdown and life changes post-lockdown, as well as suppliers catching up on a backlog of switching requests from the midst of the most severe lockdown months.

In terms of switching types, switches to challengers from the Big Six have skyrocketed compared to a few months ago, while switches from challengers to the Big Six are at the lowest levels we have seen for over a year.

  • Big Six to Big Six switches reached 107,000 – 26 percent less than July 2019 and 20 percent of July 2020’s total switches completed,
  • Big Six to challenger switches dived to 230,000 – 31 percent more than July 2019 and 42 percent of July 2020’s total switches completed,
  • Challenger to Big Six switches landed at 58,000 – 29 percent less than July 2019 and 11 percent of July 2020’s total switches completed,
  • And challenger to challenger switches reached 147,000 – 17 percent more than July 2019 and 27 percent of July 2020’s total switches completed.

Chart showing energy supplier switching types in the UK, with challengers winning

For more information on changes of supplier figures, contact Ian Scougal at Ian.Scougal@electralink.co.uk or Paul Linnane at Paul.Linnane@electralink.co.uk

This month’s hot topic…

Since the enormous acquisitions of established large suppliers involving millions of customers over the past few years have now reshaped the delineation of the traditional Big Six, we are mulling over our reporting approach.

We currently mean the traditional Big Six brands (British Gas, SSE, ScottishPower, npower, E.on and EDF) when we refer to the Big Six in the charts above, but other organisations within the energy industry consider OVO – currently considered a ‘challenger’ in our reporting – to be one of the market’s largest suppliers, particularly after the acquisition of SSE’s supply arm. Additionally, E.on acquired npower, and switches between the two Big Six brands, which exist independently under one broader company, continue.

Therefore, our question to the industry this month is: do we alter our reporting categories and conception of the Big Six, or do we continue to report on the traditional Big Six as the established ‘brands’ which customers might have specific loyalty, trust and experiences with, which may affect their switching decisions? Tell us what you think on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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NOTES:

The above figures relate to electricity switching in Great Britain only.

We do not include CoS from Supplier of Last Resort (SoLR) processes or trade sales in our monthly CoS reporting. We account for only voluntary switches, or instances where the customer made an active decision and took action to change supplier.

Switches started refers to the number of valid switches started, also known as CoS raised.

All data is provided by ElectraLink’s Energy Market Insights (EMI) from the EMDH.

ElectraLink has been granted the governance protections to hold, transfer and analyse CoS and other data.

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