The retail energy market strengthened in 2023 after changes of supplier (CoS) bounced back from historic lows during the energy price crisis. There were 2.32mn switches last year – 78 percent more than 2022’s 1.3mn switches.

The year of switching resurgence ended with 201,000 CoS in December 2023 – 86 percent higher than December the year before but a 16 percent drop from November 2023. ElectraLink analysts suggest a combination of the festive season and other factors accounts for the monthly decrease but that this matches trends in previous years.

The lower energy price cap for standard variable tariffs and overall better wholesale market prices means energy bills were lower at the end of 2023 than earlier in the year. However, fixed tariff options on the market remain relatively limited compared to the era of peak switching activity from 2019 to 2020.

In terms of switching types, CoS between Large suppliers stayed high as switching between and to Large legacy brands increased, according to ElectraLink analysts. All other switching types decreased, especially Other-to-Large CoS which halved compared to the month before, suggesting Large legacy brands are starting to offer more competitive pricing in a more stable market.

  • Large to Large switches reached 128,000 – the same as November 2023 and 63 percent of December 2023’s total CoS completed,
  • Large to Other switches totalled 38,000 – nine percent less than November 2023 and 19 percent of December 2023’s total CoS completed,
  • Other to Large switches reached 26,000 – 53 percent less than November 2023 and 13 percent of December 2023’s total CoS completed,
  • And Other to Other switches landed at 10,000 – 33 percent less than November 2023 and five percent of December 2023’s total CoS completed.

2023 roundup

Although voluntary switching activity nearly doubled year-on-year, it is only up to a similar level as 2014. Involuntary switching consisting of supplier of last resort, system migrations and trade sales between suppliers is back up to 2020 levels.

Voluntary and involuntary CoS events combined reached 8.28mn last year, meaning voluntary switching accounted for just 28 percent of all switches. There were 5.78mn total CoS events in 2022.

Other insights include:

  • The number of MPANs that switched supplier for the first time also nearly doubled year-on-year, but it is still significantly less than in 2021.
  • Nearly 21mn MPANs have voluntarily changed supplier at least once since ElectraLink records began in 2012. This is approximately 70 percent of all domestic and non-domestic MPANs in GB.
  • 5mn MPANs – approximately 11 percent of all domestic and non-domestic MPANs in GB – have been on the same supplier since ElectraLink records began. This means 19 percent of MPANs have only switched involuntarily due to market processes.
  • The most CoS a single MPAN recorded in 2023 was 19. This is a new record, beating the previous high of one MPAN switching 18 times in 2018.
  • Of the MPANs that changed supplier last year, 94 percent did so only once. This figure is consistent across with figures from previous years.
  • In terms of net gains by supplier type, 2023 was a mostly static year. Small suppliers gained 70,000 customers from Large and Medium counterparts.

For more information on CoS figures, or to find out how your organisation can access the CoS data we hold and provide for the energy market, contact [email protected].

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NOTES:

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

Unless explicitly stated, we do not include CoS from 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, including after a contract expired.

Large suppliers include all brands with a market share of five percent or more of all MPANs. Medium suppliers include brands with a market share of one to five percent of all MPANs. Small suppliers include brands with a market share of less than one percent of all MPANs. Large legacy suppliers include the former Big Six brands.

All data is provided by EMPRIS.

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