Focusing on the ten suppliers shown in the chart, as of April 2018, the overall proportion of domestic customer accounts on default tariffs (both standard variable and fixed default tariffs) that were paying by non-price protected methods was 54%, a fall from 57% in October 2017. The number of domestic customer accounts on default tariffs are split between those SVT accounts held for more than three years (32%), those held for less than three years (21%) and those on fixed default tariffs (1%). All other accounts were on actively chosen fixed tariffs (43%), and on non-standard variable tariffs (2%). The proportions vary significantly across suppliers.
When considering both price protected and non-price protected customer accounts, the proportion on default tariffs in April 2018, based on the data for the ten suppliers shown in the chart, was 58% on average, down from 62% in October 2017.
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: Standard variable and fixed default vs cheapest available tariffs (GB).
Our data shows default tariffs are usually more expensive than other deals available in the market. As of April 2018 around 17 million domestic energy accounts (13 million paying by non-price protected methods) are on default tariffs. These customers are potentially missing out on significant savings on their bills compared to cheaper tariffs from their existing or another supplier.
For previous updates, please see our page here.
- We do not include suppliers in the chart with fewer than 250,000 non-price protected customer accounts in our data, for either gas or electricity. We also exclude suppliers that offer only one tariff type (i.e. only one variable tariff).
- We do not show the proportion of customer accounts which are price-protected on the different tariff types. This is because Ofgem has introduced a price cap to limit the amount suppliers can charge prepayment customers, which was extended to include customers on the Warm Home Discount as of 2 February 2018. The price cap applied from 1 April 2017. It lasts until 2020, when we expect smart meters to give prepayment 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 for customers 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.
Active Choice Fixed tariffs
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).
An active choice tariff is a tariff which a customer actively signs up to.
All tariffs shown are for a domestic customer with typical ‘medium’ consumption (3,100 kWh/year for electricity and 12,000 kWh/year for gas).
Default Fixed tariff
Similar to a SVT, a fixed term tariff is a tariff onto which a customer is rolled onto following the expiration of another fixed tariff. This tariff has a fixed price for a set period of time. At the end of this period, the customer will be rolled onto another fixed tariff.
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.