Focusing on the suppliers shown in the chart, with the exception of Bulb, as of April 2019, the overall proportion of domestic electricity customer accounts on default tariffs (both standard variable and fixed default tariffs) not paying via the prepayment payment method was 54.3%, a small increase from 53.7% in January 2019. The number of domestic customer accounts on default tariffs are split between those accounts held for three years or more (28%) and those held for less than three years (27%). All other accounts were on actively chosen fixed tariffs (44%), and on other non-standard variable tariffs (2%). These figures are broadly unchanged since January 2019. The proportions vary significantly across suppliers due to each supplier's business model, the characteristics of their customers and the tariffs they offer.
The above aggregated figures do not include Bulb’s customer accounts. This is because, as of April 2019, they offered only one variable tariff which, while being an SVT, was priced similarly to fixed tariffs and was used to acquire customers.
When considering electricity customer accounts on all payment methods, the proportion on default tariffs in April 2019, based on the data for the suppliers shown in the chart excluding Bulb, was 58%.
Relevance and further information
This chart tracks the number of domestic electricity customer accounts on different tariff types. We also publish a chart tracking the number of domestic gas customer accounts on different tariff types. Along with other switching and consumer research statistics, these charts help us understand customer engagement with the energy market.
These 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. Among the suppliers included in the chart, excluding Bulb, around 14 million domestic electricity accounts (11 million excluding prepayment payment methods) were on default tariffs as of 1 April 2019. 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 Standard variable tariff indicators - previous updates.
This is an indicator of customer engagement with the tariff choice available in the market, which excludes prepayment customer accounts. This is because the availability of different tariff types for customers on prepayment is more limited than that for customers on credit payment methods. The indicator focuses on the licensed suppliers active in the market with more than 250,000 customer accounts, excluding suppliers which primarily supply to customers on prepayment meters.
The different tariff types that this chart refers to are:
These tariffs are either standard variable tariffs (‘SVT’) or default fixed tariffs.
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.
Similar to a SVT, a default 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. Any vacant properties are also included under this category.
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.