At October 2016, the proportion of domestic customer accounts on standard variable tariffs (‘SVT’) and paying by non-prepayment methods was 61% on average, split between those SVT accounts held for more than three years (34%) and those held for less than three years (27%). All other accounts were mainly on fixed tariffs (36%), with 2% on other non-SVTs. The proportions vary significantly across suppliers.
When considering all payment methods, the proportion of domestic customer accounts on SVTs at October 2016, based on the data for the larger 10 suppliers, was 65% on average.
Relevance and further information
This chart tracks the number of customers on different tariff types. Along with other switching and consumer research statistics it helps us understand customer engagement with the energy market.
It should be considered jointly with our chart, Average tariff prices by supplier in the last quarter: Standard variable vs cheapest available tariffs (GB).
Our data shows SVTs are usually more expensive than other deals available in the market. As of October 2016 around 19 million domestic energy accounts (15 million paying by non-prepayment methods) are on SVTs. These customers are potentially missing out on significant savings on their bills compared to cheaper tariffs from their existing or another supplier.
To view our previously published snapshot of the number of SVT customers by supplier and the potential savings available to them (reflective of prices at 28 November 2016), see Standard variable tariff comparison: 28 November 2016. Due to different calculation methods, the 28 November snapshot should not be used as a like-for-like comparison with the data in this chart. In particular, this is because our calculations here exclude prepayment accounts. See our methodology below for further detail.
- We do not include suppliers with fewer than 250,000 non-prepayment customer accounts in our data, for either gas or electricity.
- We do not show the proportion of prepayment accounts on the different tariff types. This is because Ofgem has introduced a price cap to limit the amount suppliers can charge prepayment customers. These customers have a limited tariff choice available to them and so can’t access many of the cheapest deals. The price cap applied from 1 April 2017. It lasts until 2020, when we expect smart meters to give prepay customers access to better deals.
- For each supplier, a ‘dual fuel’ customer account (i.e. where a customer takes gas and electricity from the same supplier) is counted as one account, rather than two separate accounts. While the dual fuel figure can be used as a proxy for the number of customers with each supplier, please note that adding these accounts across suppliers would result in double counting forcustomers who get their gas and electricity from different suppliers. We do not show dual fuel accounts where a customer has a different tariff type for each fuel as this situation is fairly rare.
What are the different tariff types?
The different tariff types that this chart refers to are:
Standard variable rate tariffs (‘SVT’)
An SVT is a supply contract with an indefinite length that does not have a fixed-term applying to the terms and conditions. It’s an energy supplier’s basic offer.
If a customer does not choose a specific energy plan, for example after their fixed tariff ends, they are moved to an SVT until they choose a new one. A customer can also make an active choice to select an SVT.
All suppliers have an SVT. It is usually more expensive than other plans they can offer customers.
A fixed tariff is a supply contract with terms and conditions which apply for a fixed period (for example, a contract offered by a supplier that has a standing and unit price that is fixed for a year).
All tariffs shown are for a domestic customer with typical ‘medium’ consumption (3,100 kWh/year for electricity and 12,500 kWh/year for gas).
Other non-standard variable tariffs
A non-standard variable tariff is a supply contract with an indefinite length that does not have a fixed-term applying to the terms and conditions and has also associated rewards schemes, bundles or added services.