Retail Market Indicators

In our monitoring of the retail energy market for gas and electricity, we collect and analyse a vast range of data. Our retail market indicators give a snapshot of this monitoring. They draw from a comprehensive framework which underpins our ongoing monitoring, including our annual update on the retail energy markets in Great Britain. You can view these updates in the related publications section below. 

Retail highlights November 2017 

  • The Supplier Cost Index (dual fuel) increased by 6.8% between 01 August and 01 November 2017, due to a decrease in wholesale electricity costs that was offset by an increase in wholesale gas costs and the costs of government obligations related to supplying electricity. Nonetheless, the index in November 2017 is still 1.1% below its level in November 2016. See Prices and profits.
  • The differential between the average price of the SVT offered by the six large suppliers and the cheapest tariff has generally shown an increasing trend since February 2017, but was stable in October at £308 compared to September. See Prices and profits.
  • Switching continued to increase in September, reaching 519,000 electricity switches and 455,000 gas switches. These were respectively the highest level of electricity switching ever recorded in the same month and the highest ever level of gas switching in any month. The number of switches to small and medium suppliers also increased compared to August, by around 73% in electricity and 65% in gas. See Switching and consumer experience.

Our interactive retail market indicators

Select from the below to view the indicators in detail and for an overview of our monitoring themes.

If you have feedback on the indicators, please contact us.

Market structure

The retail markets need effective competition between suppliers if they are to work in consumers’ interests. By monitoring the number of active suppliers we can see how many rivals suppliers compete with, while market shares help us understand the degree of competitive pressure that the different suppliers can exert on each other. Looked at over time, market shares reveal the competitive dynamics for existing suppliers. They also show the extent of new entrants’ success in building their businesses.

Chart

Javascript is required to render chart Number of active domestic suppliers by fuel type (GB).

Source: Ofgem analysis of distribution network operator (DNO) and Xoserve reports.

Information correct as of: October 2017

This chart shows the number of active licensed suppliers in the domestic gas and electricity markets. It also gives a breakdown by those supplying both gas and electricity, and those who supply only one fuel. 

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - retail markets
  • Gas - retail markets

Data Table

Number of active domestic suppliers by fuel type (GB)

GasElectricity Gas and electricityTotal
Dec 2004101213
Dec 2005101112
Dec 200610910
Dec 2007101011
Dec2008101112
Dec 2009001212
Dec 2010001212
Dec 2011001414
Dec 2012221620
Dec 2013421824
Jun 2014222024
Sep 2014332127
Dec 2014322227
Mar 2015332329
Jun 2015332531
Sep 2015322833
Dec 2015533240
Mar 2016523643
Jun 2016513844
Sep 2016624048
Dec 2016634352
Mar 2017624654
Jun 2017744960

More information

At-a-glance summary

There were 60 active suppliers in the domestic gas and electricity retail markets as of June 2017. These consisted of the six large suppliers and 54 other suppliers, mainly active in both gas and electricity.

Between 2004 and 2011, the number of active suppliers remained relatively stable. Since 2012, the number of active suppliers has increased due to significant entry of new suppliers. This growth accelerated throughout 2015 and 2016 with a net entry of 27 new suppliers (two suppliers exited the market in 2016) and has continued in 2017. There have been 8 new entrants in the first half of 2017. 

Relevance and further information

The number of active suppliers in the GB energy market helps us to understand the dynamics of market concentration over time, as new participants enter; win customers and some existing firms exit the market.

Methodology

We calculate the number of active licensed suppliers (i.e. those with customers) from the information that both network operators and suppliers provide to us. White label suppliers are not included in this number. White label suppliers are organisations without supply licenses that partner with an active licensed supplier to offer gas and electricity using their own brand.

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Chart

Javascript is required to render chart Gas supply market shares by company: Domestic (GB) .

Source: Ofgem analysis of Xoserve reports.

Information correct as of: October 2017

This chart shows the domestic gas market shares for each of the six large suppliers, six medium sized suppliers and other suppliers (presented in aggregate as ‘others’). 

Chart tip: To look at a specific data series or to switch a series view on and off, click on a title in the chart legend (e.g. British Gas).

Policy Areas:

  • Gas - retail markets

Data Table

Gas supply market shares by company: Domestic (GB)

British GasEDFEONRWE npowerScottish PowerSSEUtility Warehouse OVOFirst UtilityUtilitaCo-operative EnergySmall Suppliers
2005 Q255%5%12%10%9%9%
2005 Q355%5%12%10%9%10%
2005 Q454%5%12%10%9%10%
2006 Q154%5%12%10%9%10%
2006 Q252%6%12%11%9%11%
2006 Q351%6%12%11%8%11%
2006 Q450%6%12%12%8%12%
2007 Q148%7%12%12%9%13%
2007 Q248%7%12%12%8%13%
2007 Q348%7%12%12%8%14%
2007 Q447%7%11%12%8%14%
2008 Q147%7%12%12%8%14%
2008 Q246%7%12%12%8%15%
2008 Q345%7%12%12%9%15%
2008 Q445%7%12%12%9%16%
2009 Q144%7%12%12%9%16%
2009 Q244%7%12%12%9%16%
2009 Q344%7%12%12%8%16%
2009 Q444%7%12%12%8%16%
2010 Q144%7%12%12%8%16%
2010 Q244%7%12%12%8%16%
2010 Q344%7%12%11%8%16%
2010 Q443%7%12%11%9%16%
2011 Q143%8%13%11%9%16%
2011 Q243%7%13%11%9%16%
2011 Q343%8%13%12%8%16%
2011 Q442%8%13%12%8%16%
2012 Q142%8%13%12%8%16%0%0%0%0%0%0%
2012 Q242%8%13%12%8%16%0%0%0%0%0%0%
2012 Q341%9%13%12%9%15%0%0%0%0%0%0%
2012 Q441%9%13%12%9%15%0%0%1%0%0%0%
2013 Q141%8%13%12%9%15%0%0%1%0%0%0%
2013 Q241%9%13%11%9%15%0%0%1%0%0%0%
2013 Q340%9%13%11%9%15%0%0%1%0%1%1%
2013 Q439%9%13%10%9%15%2%0%1%0%1%1%
2014 Q139%9%12%10%9%14%2%1%2%0%1%1%
2014 Q238%9%12%10%9%14%2%1%2%0%1%1%
2014 Q338%9%12%10%9%14%2%1%2%1%1%1%
2014 Q438%9%12%9%9%14%2%1%3%1%1%2%
2015 Q138%9%12%9%9%13%2%2%3%1%1%2%
2015 Q237%9%12%9%9%13%2%2%3%1%1%2%
2015 Q337%8%12%9%9%13%2%2%3%1%1%3%
2015 Q437%8%12%9%9%13%2%2%4%1%1%3%
2016 Q136%8%11%9%9%13%2%2%4%1%1%4%
2016 Q236%8%11%9%9%12%2%3%4%2%1%5%
2016 Q335%8%11%9%9%12%2%3%4%2%1%5%
2016 Q435%8%10%9%9%12%2%3%4%2%1%6%
2017 Q134%8%10%8%9%12%2%3%3%2%2%6%
2017 Q233%8%11%8%9%11%2%2%3%2%1%8%

More information

At-a-glance summary

Between 2005 and Q2 2017, the gas market share of the large six suppliers dropped from nearly 100% to 81%.

The combined market share for the largest gas supplier in the GB domestic market, British Gas, declined by 22 percentage points to 33%. Nonetheless, this remains significantly higher than the next largest competitor, SSE, which held an 11% market share in June 2017.

In the same period, the individual market shares of the remaining four large suppliers fluctuated between 5% and 13%.

Until 2012, all other suppliers held a market share of below 2%. Since then, their share has grown significantly. They reached a combined market share of 19% in Q2 2017, four percentage points up on Q2 2016. Five of these (Utility Warehouse, OVO, First Utility, Utilita and Cooperative Energy) increased their individual market shares above 1%.  However, these medium sized suppliers had slower growth in the year to Q2 2017 compared to previous years in the 2012-2015 period.  Small suppliers, who have individual market shares below 1%, reached a combined market share of 8% in Q2 2017, three percentage points up on Q2 2016.

Relevance and further information

The evolution of market shares is a useful measure of trends in market concentration. They help us understand the impact between market shares and competitive dynamics, both for the six large suppliers and other suppliers, and which companies are winning or losing customers.

Methodology

We calculate market shares from the number of meter points on the gas distribution networks, as provided to us by Xoserve.  

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Chart

Javascript is required to render chart Electricity supply market shares by company: Domestic (GB) .

Source: Ofgem analysis of electricity distribution network operator reports.

Information correct as of: October 2017

This chart shows the domestic electricity market shares for each of the six large suppliers, five medium sized suppliers and other suppliers (presented in aggregate as ‘small suppliers’).

Chart tip: To look at a specific data series or to switch a series view on and off, click on a title in the chart legend (e.g. British Gas).

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - retail markets

Data Table

Electricity supply market shares by company: Domestic (GB)

British GasEDFE.ONRWE npowerScottish PowerSSECo-operative EnergyFirst UtilityOVOUtilitaUtility WarehouseSmall Suppliers
Q1 200424%14%21%15%11%14%1%
Q2 200424%14%21%15%12%15%0%
Q3 200424%14%21%15%12%15%0%
Q4 200423%13%21%15%13%15%0%
Q1 200522%13%21%15%13%15%0%
Q2 200522%13%21%15%13%16%1%
Q3 200522%13%20%15%13%16%1%
Q4 200522%13%20%15%13%16%1%
Q1 200622%13%20%15%13%16%0%
Q2 200622%14%20%15%13%16%0%
Q3 200622%14%20%15%12%17%0%
Q4 200622%14%19%16%12%17%0%
Q1 200722%14%19%16%12%18%0%
Q2 200722%14%19%16%12%18%0%
Q3 200722%13%18%16%12%18%0%
Q4 200722%13%18%15%12%18%0%
Q1 200822%13%18%15%12%19%0%
Q2 200822%13%18%15%12%19%0%
Q3 200822%13%18%15%12%19%0%
Q4 200822%13%18%15%12%19%0%
Q1 200922%13%18%15%12%20%0%
Q2 200923%13%18%15%12%20%0%
Q3 200923%13%18%15%12%20%0%
Q4 200923%13%18%14%12%20%0%
Q1 201024%13%17%14%12%20%1%
Q2 201024%13%17%14%12%20%1%
Q3 201024%13%17%14%12%20%1%
Q4 201025%13%17%14%11%20%1%
Q1 201125%13%17%14%11%20%1%
Q2 201125%13%17%14%11%20%1%
Q3 201125%13%17%14%11%19%1%
Q4 201125%13%17%14%11%19%1%
Q1 201225%13%17%14%11%19%1%
Q2 201225%13%17%14%11%19%1%
Q3 201225%13%17%14%11%19%1%
Q4 201225%13%17%14%12%18%0%1%0%0%0%0%
Q1 201325%13%17%13%12%18%0%1%1%0%0%1%
Q2 201325%13%17%13%12%18%0%1%1%0%0%1%
Q3 201325%13%16%13%12%18%0%1%0%0%0%1%
Q4 201324%13%16%12%12%18%1%1%0%0%1%1%
Q1 201424%13%16%12%12%17%1%1%1%0%2%1%
Q2 201424%13%16%12%11%17%1%2%1%0%2%1%
Q3 201424%13%16%11%11%17%1%2%1%0%2%2%
Q4 201424%13%16%11%11%17%1%3%1%1%2%2%
Q1 201524%13%16%11%11%16%1%3%2%1%2%2%
Q2 201524%12%16%11%11%16%1%3%2%1%2%2%
Q3 201524%12%16%11%11%16%1%3%2%1%2%3%
Q4 201523%12%15%10%11%16%1%3%2%1%2%3%
Q1 201623%12%15%10%11%15%1%3%2%1%2%4%
Q2 201623%12%15%10%11%15%1%3%2%1%2%5%
Q3 201623%12%14%10%11%15%1%3%2%1%2%5%
Q4 201623%12%14%10%11%15%1%3%2%2%2%5%
Q1 201722%12%14%9%11%15%2%3%2%2%2%6%
Q2 201722%12%13%10%11%14%1%3%2%2%2%8%

More information

At-a-glance summary

Between 2004 and Q2 2017, the electricity market share of the large six suppliers dropped from nearly 100% to 82%.

The combined market share for five of the large electricity suppliers (excluding British Gas) in the GB domestic market declined by 15 percentage points, from 75% to 60%. Individual market shares fluctuated between 10% and 22%. 

In the same period, British Gas was the leading domestic electricity supplier in GB, with a market share ranging between 22% and 25%. 

Until 2012, other suppliers held a market share of below 2%. Since then, their share has grown significantly. They reached a market share of 18% in Q2 2017, four percentage points up on Q2 2016. Five of these (Utility Warehouse, OVO, First Utility, Utilita, and Cooperative Energy) increased their individual market shares above 1%, with First Utility reaching over 3%. These medium sized suppliers had slower growth in the year to Q2 2017, compared to previous years in the 2012-2015 period. On the other hand, small suppliers, who have individual market shares below 1%, have reached a combined market share of 8% in Q2 2017, 3 percentage points up compared to Q2 2016. 

Relevance and further information

The evolution of market shares is a useful measure of trends in market concentration. They help us understand the impact between market shares and competitive dynamics, both for the six large suppliers and other suppliers, and which companies are winning or losing customers.

Methodology

We calculate market shares from the number of meter points on the electricity distribution networks, as provided to us by electricity distribution network operators.

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Prices and profits

Competition in the energy market is necessary to incentivise suppliers to improve their cost efficiency. It should also push suppliers to improve their prices and services in the fear that if they do not, they will lose customers to their rivals and will struggle to attract new business.

Our indicators show trends across available tariff types and contracts, and the prices suppliers offer to different customer groups. Energy company profits help us to understand the strength of competition among companies. We assess this through the companies’ pre-tax margins, out of which they make a profit. We also look at the costs that make up a typical dual fuel customer bill over time to better understand what factors drive price changes. 

Chart

Source: Energylinx (Until May 2017) & Energyhelpline (June 2017 onwards).

Information correct as of: November 2017

This chart shows trends in domestic energy bills by tariff offered by the six large suppliers and other suppliers. It compares their average standard variable tariffs with the cheapest tariffs available in the market (including white label tariffs). Figures are based on a typical domestic dual fuel customer paying by direct debit. 

From February 2017 the prices shown in the chart are calculated using the new TDCV values that entered into effect from 1st of October 2017 (see the methodology section for more details).

In practical terms, this means that the tariffs offered after February 2017 are likely to appear slightly lower than those before February 2017.  

This information should not be used as a price comparison tool. To find out about accredited price comparison sites, see Compare gas and electricity tariffs.

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - retail markets
  • Gas - retail markets

Data Table

Retail price comparison by company and tariff type: Domestic (GB)

DateAverage standard variable tariff (Six large suppliers)Average standard variable tariff (Other suppliers)Cheapest tariff (Six large suppliers)Cheapest tariff (All suppliers)Cheapest tariff (Basket)
28/01/20121020.161026.33915.27906.56947.56
28/02/20121000.761019.41886.18878.10930.29
28/03/2012997.251019.41886.18878.10936.54
28/04/2012997.251019.35895.69878.10937.68
28/05/2012997.251019.35895.69878.10929.78
28/06/2012997.251036.16895.69895.69945.53
28/07/2012997.251034.16895.69875.93928.99
28/08/2012997.251032.02899.10875.93924.85
28/09/2012997.251019.84901.47875.93931.04
28/10/20121009.001022.51906.17893.85956.00
28/11/20121030.781046.91958.21909.59997.71
28/12/20121061.801089.65990.70909.59994.59
28/01/20131074.421089.65957.18909.59990.81
28/02/20131074.421103.04957.18909.59994.56
28/03/20131074.421103.04966.54909.59995.50
28/04/20131074.421115.23966.54909.59988.37
28/05/20131074.431115.23966.54962.43997.77
28/06/20131074.431115.23966.54769.95967.26
28/07/20131074.451115.23984.68769.95974.82
28/08/20131074.451115.23971.77769.95988.47
28/09/20131074.451115.23971.77769.95979.55
28/10/20131074.451129.021011.80769.95995.67
28/11/20131105.941133.08993.40769.95992.26
28/12/20131138.951133.081033.47769.95997.00
28/01/20141145.841134.251033.47975.211013.73
28/02/20141134.091139.371033.97966.341014.19
28/03/20141128.101136.041024.79964.311016.25
28/04/20141128.101139.051000.38946.42995.26
28/05/20141128.101139.051000.38944.55995.13
28/06/20141128.101139.051000.38944.55992.88
28/07/20141128.101142.671000.38944.95976.39
28/08/20141128.101140.961000.38943.43978.98
28/09/20141128.101171.97960.90942.27972.34
28/10/20141128.101145.38953.40931.02960.15
28/11/20141128.101145.38921.88914.51947.94
28/12/20141128.101144.09916.21906.14929.69
28/01/20151124.331144.09875.40871.26895.39
28/02/20151106.651110.84839.28839.28881.39
28/03/20151106.651088.31836.99836.99892.38
28/04/20151106.651075.32834.57834.57878.56
28/05/20151102.281073.26835.19830.56877.12
28/06/20151102.281073.26835.71830.56871.21
28/07/20151102.281066.77863.85830.56867.88
28/08/20151098.031066.77876.03830.56868.79
28/09/20151098.031054.98876.03830.56858.62
28/10/20151098.031050.12803.00793.93823.00
28/11/20151098.031040.70805.40787.05810.84
28/12/20151098.031039.03850.52787.05803.86
28/01/20161098.031035.48769.69765.00785.04
28/02/20161092.691020.06738.38738.38755.65
28/03/20161071.441013.00727.70727.70756.05
28/04/20161065.97978.55723.91723.91751.58
28/05/20161065.97976.04723.23723.23742.71
28/06/20161065.97984.02723.23723.23751.36
28/07/20161065.97988.70779.39758.31779.72
28/08/20161065.97983.86801.37769.65789.25
28/09/20161065.97983.89754.64744.30777.00
28/10/20161065.97994.93803.54741.92786.41
28/11/20161065.971012.84897.18790.02859.23
28/12/20161065.971019.72951.51790.02872.16
28/01/20171061.061020.10951.51833.71881.11
28/02/20171081.271027.06928.48829.1869.79
28/03/20171109.481035.47922.23829.1873.38
28/04/20171122.281041.56923.55863.31874.62
28/05/20171122.281039.22923.57826.52861.76
28/06/20171122.281026.98923.57835.76852.58
28/07/20171122.281030.63922.82829.91844.94
28/08/20171122.281030.76910.05810.11839.30
28/09/20171134.951026.42904.48826.73837.66
28/10/20171134.951031.41897.98826.73854.69

More information

At-a-glance summary

From the start of 2014 until early 2016, the price difference between the average standard variable tariff and the cheapest tariff available in the market increased significantly. This is because the price of the cheapest tariffs fell at a much faster rate than that of the average standard variable tariff. The differential peaked in February 2016 at £350. Since then, and up to January 2017, the average SVT has continued to drop and the cheapest tariff in the market has increased, driven primarily by increases in wholesale prices.                                                            

Between February 2017 and October 2017 the cheapest tariff in the market has fluctuated, but returned to roughly the same level. Over the same period the cheapest tariff offered by the six large suppliers has decreased by around 4%.

The average price of SVTs offered by the six large suppliers increased from February to October 2017, reaching £1,135. These SVT increases were the first for most of these suppliers since the end of 2013. The differential between the average price of the SVT offered by the six large suppliers and the cheapest tariff has generally shown an increasing trend since February 2017, but was stable relative to the previous month at £308 in October.

For more details on the changes to SVT prices, please go to our chart Average tariff prices by supplier: Standard variable vs cheapest available tariffs (GB).

The differential between the basket of cheapest tariffs and the average standard variable tariff for the six large suppliers stood at £280 in October 2017, a decrease of 6% over the previous month.

Relevance and further information

Tariff differentials reflect pricing in different market segments, as well as how much other suppliers are able to compete on price with the six large suppliers.

Methodology

We calculate the bill values associated with the different tariff types using a ‘typical medium domestic consumer’. As of October 2017, typical consumption values for a medium consumer are 12,000kWh/year for gas and 3,100kWh/year for electricity (profile class 1). The chart includes collective switching tariffs from Q1 2016. All tariffs shown in the chart are for a dual fuel, direct debit customer. Dual fuel refers to a situation where a customer takes gas and electricity from the same supplier.

A standard variable tariff refers to a supply contract which is for a period of an indefinite length and which does not contain a fixed term period that applies to any of 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 will be moved on a standard variable tariff until they have chosen a new one. A customer can also make an active choice to select a standard variable tariff.

Tariffs with limited availability depending on customer features (for example, tariffs which are only available to new customers, also known as ‘acquisition’ tariffs, or tariffs restricted to certain regions) are excluded from the calculation to make sure that all tariffs considered are generally available to all customers across GB.

Tariffs available with white label suppliers are included in the calculation of the cheapest tariffs. White label suppliers are organisations without supply licences that partner with an active licensed supplier to offer gas and electricity using their own brand.

To calculate the average of the cheapest tariffs from the 10 cheapest suppliers we took the cheapest tariff offered by each supplier in the market (i.e. one tariff per supplier) and then ranked the tariffs in order of price. We then took the simple average of the 10 cheapest tariffs in this list. This method is to ensure a cross section of suppliers is included in the calculation.

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Chart

Source: Energylinx (Until May 2017) & Energyhelpline (June 2017 onwards).

Information correct as of: November 2017

This chart compares the cheapest available tariffs offered by the six large suppliers with the cheapest tariff available in the market by payment method (direct debit, standard credit and prepayment). Figures are based on a typical domestic dual fuel customer.

From February 2017 the prices shown in the chart are calculated using the new TDCV values that entered into effect from 1st of October 2017 (see the methodology section for more details).

In practical terms, this means that the tariffs offered after February 2017 are likely to appear slightly lower than those before February 2017.  

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - retail markets
  • Gas - retail markets

Data Table

Cheapest tariffs by payment method: Typical domestic dual fuel customer (GB)

DateLarge six suppliers (direct debit)Large six suppliers (standard credit)Large six suppliers (prepayment)Market (direct debit)Market (standard credit)Market (prepayment)
28/01/2012915.27976.71021.54906.56971.04969.61
28/02/2012886.18976.71021.54878.1971.04969.61
28/03/2012886.18976.71021.54878.1971.04969.61
28/04/2012895.69953.41021.54878.1953.4969.24
28/05/2012895.69953.41021.54878.1890.12969.24
28/06/2012895.69953.41021.54895.69953.41017.42
28/07/2012895.69953.41021.54875.93953.41017.42
28/08/2012899.1957.031021.54875.93957.031017.42
28/09/2012901.471020.711021.54875.93988.141017.42
28/10/2012906.171020.711069.39893.85988.141019.3
28/11/2012958.211020.711069.39909.59979.351045.64
28/12/2012990.71071.381133.19909.59979.351045.64
28/01/2013957.181037.21133.19909.59979.351045.64
28/02/2013957.181037.21133.19909.591037.21045.64
28/03/2013966.541046.571133.19909.591046.571045.64
28/04/2013966.541046.571133.19909.591046.571045.64
28/05/2013966.541046.571133.19962.43996.91045.64
28/06/2013966.541046.571133.19769.95996.91045.64
28/07/2013984.681075.511133.19769.95996.91045.64
28/08/2013971.771051.791133.19769.951051.791045.64
28/09/2013971.771051.791133.19769.951051.791045.64
28/10/20131011.81079.911133.19769.951070.991093.35
28/11/2013993.41058.151150.97769.951058.151093.35
28/12/20131033.471101.651178.61769.951101.651093.35
28/01/20141033.471101.651178.61975.211101.651172.77
28/02/20141033.971108.11178.61966.341108.11172.77
28/03/20141024.791117.271178.61964.311117.271171.39
28/04/20141000.381069.951178.61946.421069.951171.39
28/05/20141000.381069.951178.61944.551069.951171.39
28/06/20141000.381069.951170.86944.551069.951162.4
28/07/20141000.381069.951170.86944.951029.051162.4
28/08/20141000.381069.951170.86943.431038.881154.43
28/09/2014960.91030.951170.86942.271030.951154.43
28/10/2014953.41046.451170.86931.021024.451154.43
28/11/2014921.881003.791170.86914.511003.791154.43
28/12/2014916.211003.791170.86906.141003.791151.22
28/01/2015875.4945.461148.99871.26945.461148.99
28/02/2015839.28955.071148.90839.28950.351148.90
28/03/2015836.99907.241148.99836.99907.241116.99
28/04/2015834.57977.561141.64834.57950.631116.99
28/05/2015835.19905.441141.64830.56905.441116.99
28/06/2015835.71981.781122.97830.56940.901116.99
28/07/2015863.85981.781122.97830.56939.851116.99
28/08/2015876.03977.321128.54830.56940.271116.99
28/09/2015876.03963.771128.54830.56907.261100.94
28/10/2015803.00873.251128.54793.93844.041100.94
28/11/2015805.40950.751128.54787.05844.041055.61
28/12/2015850.52950.751102.20787.05844.041055.61
28/01/2016769.69839.941102.20765.00839.941055.61
28/02/2016738.38808.631092.26738.38808.631054.20
28/03/2016727.70797.761070.37727.70797.761051.22
28/04/2016723.93793.481070.37723.91793.481030.27
28/05/2016723.23877.121037.31723.23877.121017.61
28/06/2016723.23847.451037.31723.23847.45985.97
28/07/2016779.39904.971037.31758.31871.54985.97
28/08/2016801.37941.421043.54769.65871.54985.97
28/09/2016754.64839.151043.54744.30839.15985.97
28/10/2016803.54967.131043.54741.92829.42985.97
28/11/2016897.181002.631035.64790.02907.75985.97
28/12/2016951.511031.571035.64790.02923.48985.97
28/01/2017951.511031.571035.64833.71951.58985.97
28/02/2017928.481033.401015.43829.10935.19970.67
28/03/2017922.231016.741019.21829.10949.48970.67
28/04/2017923.551018.08994.53863.31946.43970.67
28/05/2017923.571018.08994.53826.52923.47979.27
28/06/2017923.571018.08994.53835.76923.23979.27
28/07/2017922.821017.33994.53829.91923.23979.27
28/08/2017910.051004.56988.90810.11923.47979.27
28/09/2017904.481051.43988.90826.73923.47979.27
28/10/2017897.981012.47988.90826.73943.35978.04

More information

At-a-glance summary

Across the market, direct debit customers are offered the cheapest tariffs, followed by standard credit customers and then those using prepayment meters. The gap between the cheapest tariff on standard credit and direct debit was relatively stable from 2016 to January 2017 at around £90-£100. However, the cheapest offer from the large six suppliers is higher for standard credit customers than for those using prepayment meters.

The gap between the cheapest prepayment and direct debit tariff was at around £140 in February 2017. It then fell steadily to a low of around £110 in April 2017, increased to around £170 in July 2017 and was back to £150 in September and October 2017. This was due to a combination of large movements in the price of the cheapest direct debit tariffs and a relatively more stable trend in the price of the cheapest prepayment tariffs. 

Please note that a cap was introduced on prepayment tariffs on 1 April, limiting the amount that suppliers can charge their prepayment customers. For more information on the impact of the prepayment cap, please see Prepayment and direct debit prices since January 2016 (GB).

Relevance and further information

This indicator helps us understand pricing by payment methods, as well as how much other suppliers are able to compete with the six large suppliers for each method.

Methodology

We calculate the bill values associated with the different tariff types using a ‘typical medium domestic consumer’. As of October 2017, typical consumption values for a medium consumer are 12,000kWh/year for gas and 3,100kWh/year for electricity (profile class 1). The chart includes collective switching tariffs from Q1 2016.

All tariffs shown in the chart are for a dual fuel customer. Dual fuel refers to a situation where a customer takes gas and electricity from the same supplier.

Tariffs with limited availability depending on customer features (for example, tariffs which are only available to new customers, also known as ‘acquisition’ tariffs, or tariffs restricted to certain regions) are excluded from the calculation to make sure that all tariffs considered are generally available to all customers across GB.

Tariffs available with white label suppliers are included in the calculation of the cheapest tariff. White label suppliers are organisations without supply licences that partner with an active licensed supplier to offer gas and electricity using their own brand.

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Chart

Source: Energyhelpline.

Information correct as of: October 2017

This chart shows average prices in the last quarter for each of the 10 larger suppliers in the non-prepayment segment. These include suppliers’ standard variable and cheapest tariffs, which are compared with the average price of the market cheapest tariff in the 3 month period.

The prices shown in the chart are calculated using the new TDCV values that entered into effect from 1st of October 2017 (see the methodology section for more details).

In practical terms, this means that the tariffs offered after February 2017 are likely to appear slightly lower than those before February 2017.  

 

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - retail markets
  • Gas - retail markets

Data Table

Average tariff prices by supplier: Standard variable vs cheapest available tariffs (GB)

SupplierSupplier's average annual standard variable tariffSupplier's cheapest annual average tariffMarket cheapest annual average tariff
British Gas10721036816
SSE1121872816
E.ON1133941816
EDF1142971816
Scottish Power1147973816
RWE npower1166935816
First Utility1132927816
OVO1097942816
Utility Warehouse10981017816
Coop1158859816

More information

At-a-glance summary

Between July and September 2017, the average standard variable tariff (‘SVT’) price for a domestic customer with one of the 10 larger suppliers in the non-prepayment segment ranged between £1,072 and £1,166.

The cheapest deals were all above the average market cheapest tariff of £816, ranging between £859 and £1,036. As a result, the average SVT price differentials in the period were between £36 and £299 relative to suppliers’ cheapest tariffs and between £256 and £350 relative to the market cheapest tariff. For an overview of the SVT and price trends over time see our chart on the Retail price comparison by company and tariff type. 

Relevance and further information

This chart measures the savings available to SVT customers if they change tariff or switch supplier.

It should be considered jointly with our chart on the Number of non-prepayment domestic customer accounts by supplier: Standard variable, fixed and other tariffs (GB)

Our data shows SVTs are usually more expensive than other deals available in the market. Customers on SVTs are potentially missing out on significant savings on their bills compared to cheaper tariffs from their existing or another supplier. 

Methodology

  • We calculate the bill values associated with the different tariff types using a ‘typical medium domestic consumer’. As of October 2017, typical consumption values for a medium consumer are 12,000kWh/year for gas and 3,100kWh/year for electricity (profile class 1). 
  • We do not show prices from suppliers with fewer than 250,000 non-prepayment customer accounts, for either gas or electricity.  
  • We use weekly prices across the quarter prior to publication to calculate the average SVT price. We take the data from Energyhelpline for each Monday of every week in the analysed period. SVT prices in this chart always refer to paper billing prices.
  • We use the same calculations to produce the average cheapest tariff price for each supplier and for the average market cheapest tariff price.
  • When calculating the cheapest tariff at both individual supplier and market level, we exclude tariffs restricted to certain regions. This is so we give a representative picture of tariffs generally available to all customers across GB.
  • When calculating the cheapest tariff at individual supplier level, we:
    • include tariffs only available to existing customers (also known as ‘retention' tariffs).
    • exclude tariffs only available to new customers (also known as ‘acquisition’ tariffs).
  • When calculating the cheapest tariff at market level, we:
    • include tariffs only available to new customers (also known as ‘acquisition’ tariffs).
    • exclude tariffs only available to existing customers (also known as ‘retention' tariffs).
  • Collective tariffs or exclusive deals only available through a supplier’s website or through a specific price comparison website are included to the extent they are ‘open collective switches’ available to all customers. We also include tariffs restricted to a particular payment method, except for prepayment.
  • The cheapest tariffs can include fixed and variable tariffs, may or may not involve exit fees, rewards or discounts, may only be available online and may be offered by any suppliers active in the market. Some suppliers included in the average market cheapest tariffs may not offer the Warm Home Discount.
  • We include tariffs available with ‘white label’ providers in the calculation of the market cheapest tariff. Where relevant, we have also included them in the cheapest tariff offered by the parent supplier of the ‘white label’. ‘White label’ providers are organisations without supply licences that partner with an active licensed supplier to offer gas and electricity tariffs using their own brand.
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Javascript is required to render chart Prepayment and direct debit prices since January 2016 (GB).

Source: Energylinx (Until May 2017) & Energyhelpline (June 2017 onwards).

Information correct as of: November 2017

This chart compares trends in prices since 2016 for a dual fuel customer paying by direct debit or prepayment. It shows both the market cheapest tariffs and average standard variable tariffs (SVT) for the two payment methods. The values are calculated for a customer with typical energy use.

From February 2017 the prices shown in the chart, including the level of the prepayment price cap, are calculated using the new TDCV values that entered into effect from 1st of October 2017 (see the methodology section for more details).

In practical terms, this means that the tariffs offered after February 2017 are likely to appear slightly lower than those before February 2017.  

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - retail markets
  • Electricity - wholesale markets
  • Gas - retail markets
  • Gas - wholesale markets

Data Table

Prepayment and direct debit prices since January 2016 (GB)

DateSVT - direct debit (market average)SVT - prepayment (market average)Cheapest tariff - direct debit (all suppliers)Cheapest tariff - prepayment (all suppliers)Prepayment price cap (1 Apr to 30 Sep)
28/12/20151091.801162.90770.591055.61
28/01/20161091.211162.027651055.61
28/02/20161086.421157.54738.381054.2
28/03/20161067.281136.82727.451051.22
28/04/20161059.681129.69723.911030.27
28/05/20161059.681129.69723.231017.61
28/06/20161059.681129.69723.23985.97
28/07/20161059.561127.72758.31985.97
28/08/20161059.561127.72769.65985.97
28/09/20161059.561127.72744.3985.97
28/10/20161059.741127.72741.92985.97
28/11/20161059.741120.44790.02985.97
28/12/20161059.741120.44790.02985.97
28/01/20171057.191113.33833.71985.97
28/02/20171059.301060.05829.10970.67
28/03/20171088.781059.35829.10970.67
28/04/20171095.821033.07863.31970.671050.35
28/05/20171095.821033.07826.52979.271050.35
28/06/20171094.941033.07835.76979.271050.35
28/07/20171094.941033.52829.91979.271050.35
28/08/20171095.671032.23810.11979.271050.35
28/09/20171122.671035.17826.73979.271050.35
28/10/20171122.881030.92826.73978.041031.27
28/11/20171031.27
28/12/20171031.27

More information

At-a-glance summary

In April 2017, the new prepayment price cap came into force, limiting the amount that suppliers can charge their prepayment customers. After the introduction of the cap, the market average standard variable tariff (SVT) fell by around £60 for a prepayment customer with typical energy use on a dual fuel tariff. Looking at just the six large suppliers, the average reduction was around £80.

As a result of these reductions and the price increases we have seen for customers using other payment methods in the first half of 2017, the market average direct debit SVT was around £92 more expensive for a direct debit customer than for a prepayment customer as of 28 October. Note that cost differences will exist to serve prepayment and direct debit customers.

The cheapest prepayment tariffs available in the market have remained below the average SVT for a prepayment customer even after the price reductions following the cap introduction. On the other hand, the cheapest available prepayment tariffs have been consistently more expensive than the cheapest tariffs available for those paying by direct debit throughout the period.

Relevance and further information

This chart helps us track the differences between the price a customer will pay depending on if they use prepayment (where prices are capped) or direct debit to pay their energy bills.

You can find further information on the price cap at Prepayment meter price cap. The cap lasts until 2020. By then we expect the smart meter roll-out to give prepay customers access to better deals.

Methodology

  • We calculate the bill values associated with the different tariff types using a ‘typical medium domestic consumer’. As of October 2017, typical consumption values for a medium consumer are 12,000kWh/year for gas and 3,100kWh/year for electricity (profile class 1). 
  • All prices shown are for a dual fuel customer (i.e. where a customer takes gas and electricity from the same supplier). 
  • The market average SVTs are based on the prices of the 10 largest suppliers in the direct debit and prepayment segments. We have weighted the SVT of each supplier using an estimate of their total share of all SVT customers (for direct debit), and their total share of all prepayment accounts (for prepayment). We update the weightings every six months in January and July to reflect customer numbers four months prior to publication. The time lag is due to data availability. For example, the average given for 28 January 2017 uses weights based on customer numbers at 31 October 2016, while the average for 28 December 2016 uses weights at 31 March 2016.
  • An SVT refers to a supply contract which is for a period of an indefinite length, and which does not have a fixed-term period applying to any of 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 will be moved onto an SVT until they have chosen a new one. A customer can also make an active choice to select an SVT.
  • We exclude tariffs with limited availability – such as tariffs only available to new customers (also known as ‘acquisition’ tariffs) or tariffs restricted to certain regions - when calculating the market cheapest tariff. This is so we give a representative picture of tariffs generally available to all customers across GB.
  • We include tariffs available with ‘white label’ suppliers in our calculation of the cheapest tariffs. White label suppliers are organisations without supply licences that partner with an active licensed supplier to offer gas and electricity using their own brand.
  • The cheapest tariff shown on the chart includes any collective switching tariffs after the first quarter of 2016.
  • In all cases, the prices shown are based on suppliers’ tariffs averaged across GB regions.
  • Please note the account numbers given to us by Co-operative Energy to weight the data do not include the customers Co-operative Energy gained when GB Energy Supply ceased trading. We will rectify this in the near future.

The level of the prepayment price cap is based on the values published on our website, adjusted to reflect current typical domestic consumption values, and to include VAT.

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Chart

Source: Ofgem analysis of supplier data submissions.

Information correct as of: August 2017

This chart shows the number of domestic customer accounts paying by non-prepayment methods for each of the 10 larger suppliers. The number is broken down into four categories: accounts on a standard variable tariff (‘SVT’) held for more than three years with a supplier, accounts on an SVT held for less than three years with a supplier, accounts on other non-standard variable tariffs and accounts on fixed tariffs.

The chart is based on the latest available information submitted to us by suppliers (30 April 2017).

We update this chart on a biannual basis. Click the ‘more information’ tab above for a summary of the key figures, details of how to interpret the figures and for information on our methodology.

Please note the account numbers given to us by Co-operative Energy do not include the customers Co-operative Energy gained when GB Energy Supply ceased trading. We will rectify this in the near future.

Policy Areas:

  • Business consumers
  • Domestic consumers
  • Electricity - retail markets
  • Gas - retail markets

Data Table

Number of non-prepayment domestic customer accounts by supplier: Standard variable, fixed and other tariffs (GB)

SupplierFixed tariffOther non-standard variable tariffsStandard variable tariff (less than three years)Standard variable tariff (more than three years)
British Gas2,194,05801,836,8613,010,876
SSE630,928349,861966,2021,531,095
E.ON1,056,6679,3661,000,8041,247,809
EDF1,337,5470762,279795,247
Scottish Power1,551,33150,127393,728640,698
RWE npower1,187,211546450,843795,726
First Utility706,7940131,36023,769
OVO348,1850138,14110,153
Utility Warehouse67,111148,885136,327112,532
Coop205,801055,92936,367

More information

At-a-glance summary

At April 2017, the proportion of domestic customer accounts on standard variable tariffs (‘SVT’) and paying by non-prepayment methods was 59% on average, split between those SVT accounts held for more than three years (34%) and those held for less than three years (25%). All other accounts were mainly on fixed tariffs (39%), 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 April 2017, based on the data for the larger 10 suppliers, was 64% 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 April 2017 around 18 million domestic energy accounts (14 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.  

Methodology

  • 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.

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).

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.

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Source: Companies’ consolidated segmental statements.

Information correct as of: August 2017

This chart shows the combined gas and electricity pre-tax domestic supply margins of the six large suppliers. It is based on information reported by the large suppliers in their annual Consolidated Segmental Statements.

We update this chart on an annual basis. Click the ‘more information’ tab above for a summary of the key figures, details of how to interpret the figures and for information on our methodology.

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - retail markets
  • Gas - retail markets

Data Table

Pre-tax domestic supply margins of large suppliers, combined gas and electricity

CentricaE.ONEDFnpowerScottishPowerSSEAggregate
20097.59%-2.62%-7.50%-6.93%1.72%2.31%0.89%
20108.88%0.48%-3.87%-4.66%-0.17%5.95%3.04%
20116.86%1.98%-4.84%-1.81%-0.43%5.77%2.80%
20126.64%2.26%-3.04%3.61%4.51%6.36%4.25%
20136.14%4.01%-2.76%3.41%4.77%3.91%3.94%
20145.30%5.06%-0.24%2.65%5.79%6.04%4.46%
20157.56%4.52%-0.69%-6.78%5.67%6.25%4.15%
20167.18%6.95%-0.87%-6.26%5.20%6.95%4.48%

More information

Pre-tax supply margins of the largest suppliers: At-a-glance summary

  • Between 2009 and 2015, the average combined gas and electricity pre-tax domestic supply margin across the six large suppliers grew from around 1% to around 4%, with significant differences between the suppliers’ margins.
     
  • Between 2015 and 2016, profits earned by the six large suppliers continued to vary substantially and showed an increase in the average combined gas and electricity pre-tax domestic supply margin from 4.1% to 4.5%. E.ON reported an increase in its domestic margins from 4.5% to 7.0%. SSE also showed a slight year-on-year increase from 6.2% to 6.9%. Similarly, npower reported higher domestic margins year-on-year, despite making the biggest loss (-6.3%). Centrica earned the highest domestic margins amongst the group (7.2%) despite reporting a slight decrease year-on-year. EDF and ScottishPower also showed a similar decreasing trend.    

Relevance and further information

This chart helps us understand trends in profits in the domestic supply market and how they differ between suppliers.

Methodology

The supply margins shown in this chart are the ratio between a company’s Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT) - the ‘pre-tax margin’ - and its total revenues from supplying gas and electricity.

A supplier’s pre-tax margin is calculated by subtracting from a company’s total revenue its total direct costs, total indirect costs (such as operating costs), depreciation and amortisation for supplying energy.

Figures are calculated using information from companies’ annual Consolidated Segmental Statements. They relate to the suppliers’ financial years. Five of the companies (British Gas, EDF, E.ON, npower and ScottishPower) have financial years ending in December, whereas SSE’s financial year runs from April to March. 

The data in this chart may differ from the data that can be found in the company’s externally-published Consolidated Segmental Statements. This is because we have made some adjustments to the way in which exceptional items are reported among suppliers to improve comparability.

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Javascript is required to render chart Large suppliers: Domestic dual fuel bill breakdown over time.

Source: Ofgem analysis of companies’ Consolidated Segmental Statements.

Information correct as of: August 2017

This chart provides an estimate of the breakdown of a dual fuel bill over time for an average domestic customer of the large suppliers.  It is based on information reported by the large suppliers in their annual Consolidated Segmental Statements. For more information, please see our page Understanding the profits of the large energy suppliers. Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) – which we also refer to as suppliers’ pre-tax margins – are calculated as revenue minus costs, before accounting for taxes and interest.

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - retail markets
  • Gas - retail markets

Data Table

Large suppliers: Domestic dual fuel bill breakdown over time

Wholesale costsDirect costsNetwork costsEnvironmental/social costsOther direct costsOperating costsEBITVATBill
20096212901328521095
201058828016035531116
201153728715230501057
201261234716153591232
2013628276109016349611286
2014532278100516651571190
201550627986718249551165
2016425292911319354531123

More information

Domestic dual fuel bill breakdown over time: At-a-glance summary

Between 2009 and 2015, the average domestic dual fuel bill has fluctuated in the range of £1,095 to £1,286. The average domestic dual fuel bill fell by 4% between 2015 and 2016 as a result of reductions to suppliers’ prices, which more than offset an increase in average consumption as a result of colder weather.

The large suppliers’ financial statements have shown a marked difference in outturns for gas and electricity. Despite the fall in revenues, aggregate pre-tax profits from the supply of gas increased year-on-year, while for electricity they fell significantly.

Relevance and further information

This indicator helps to explain the costs making up an average dual fuel bill and show the factors influencing total bills in a given year. The costs that make up a bill are wholesale costs, network costs, environmental and social obligation costs, operating costs (including depreciation and amortisation), supplier pre-tax margin and VAT.

Methodology

To estimate the breakdown of an average gas and electricity bill, we took the sum of each category of costs and pre-tax supply margins as reported by the suppliers for each fuel and then divided by the total number of customers for that fuel. We then added VAT at 5% and summed the implied bill components for gas and electricity together to derive an estimate of the overall costs making up a dual fuel bill.

Note that because it is based on the total costs and customer numbers reported by suppliers irrespective of their tariff type, the bill breakdown for gas will reflect a mixture of the costs of serving gas to dual fuel and single fuel customers – and the same also applies to electricity. As such, the dual fuel breakdown should be considered an approximation in that it will reflect a combination of the costs incurred in serving gas and electricity to both dual fuel and single fuel customers (which may differ if, for example, electricity-only customers consume more electricity than those customers that are also supplied with gas).

The data presented is based on the latest available Consolidated Segmental Statements. It may differ from the data that can be found in the supplier’s externally published Consolidated Segmental Statements. This is because we have made some adjustments to the way in which exceptional items are reported among suppliers to improve comparability.

Figures relate to the suppliers’ financial years. Five of the companies (British Gas, EDF, E.ON, npower and ScottishPower) have financial years ending in December, whereas SSE’s financial year runs from April to March.

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Javascript is required to render chart Supplier Cost Index by fuel type (GB).

Source: Ofgem analysis.

Information correct as of: 1 November 2017

The Supplier Cost Index tracks ongoing trends in wholesale costs, network costs and the charges to suppliers associated with government programmes.

At-a-glance summary

  • The Supplier Cost Index (dual fuel) increased by 6.8% between 01 August and 01 November 2017. In the previous quarter it was broadly flat. In this quarter there was a decrease in wholesale electricity costs, offset by an increase in wholesale gas costs and the costs of government obligations related to supplying electricity.
  • The index in November 2017 is now 1.1% below its level in November 2016. There was a steep increase in the index in the last quarter of 2016, driven primarily by sharp movements in wholesale prices followed by a substantial decline in the first half of 2017 prior to the recent more gradual increase.
  • The decrease in the index compared to November 2016 is largely a result of a decrease in wholesale electricity prices and a slight decrease in electricity network costs, offset by an increase in gas prices and the cost of government obligations related to supplying electricity (particularly programmes associated with supporting renewable and low-carbon electricity generation). 
  • The current index starts in January 2015. Costs fell during 2015 and early 2016, with much larger reductions for gas than electricity. After the recent increases, the dual fuel index is now 3% above its level at the start of 2015. The electricity index is 13% higher, while the gas index is 6.2% lower.

We update this chart on a quarterly basis. Click the ‘more information’ tab above for a description of how the index is calculated and which costs are included.

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - retail markets
  • Gas - retail markets

Data Table

Supplier Cost Index by fuel type (GB)

Expected supply costs for the next 12 months (Jan-15 = 100)Dual FuelElectricityGas
Jan-15100.0100.0100.0
Feb-1592.9995.3790.72
Mar-1596.7997.9895.66
Apr-1595.3096.4294.24
May-1594.9696.5893.42
Jun-1594.0096.3291.79
Jul-1593.6596.4990.94
Aug-1592.8496.3689.48
Sep-1590.7095.4586.18
Oct-1590.5195.9185.35
Nov-1589.1095.2483.24
Dec-1586.7494.6079.26
Jan-1685.1494.0876.61
Feb-1681.8091.7972.29
Mar-1681.4792.1071.35
Apr-1682.3893.5271.76
May-1683.2694.2572.79
Jun-1685.8896.4275.84
Jul-1691.18100.8581.97
Aug-1695.48104.6186.78
Sep-1693.09103.4283.24
Oct-1692.66104.3281.56
Nov-16104.35118.8690.51
Dec-16105.01118.9991.68
Jan-1798.77108.5089.49
Feb-17102.23109.9894.85
Mar-17100.41108.0393.14
Apr-1796.68105.4388.35
May-1796.06105.0787.48
Jun-1795.61105.0586.61
Jul-1796.18106.6486.22
Aug-1796.52107.6785.89
Sep-1799.70110.6789.25
Oct-17101.64112.1291.66
Nov-17103.12112.9593.76

More information

Methodology

  • We calculate the Supplier Cost Index by estimating trends in network charges, wholesale prices and the charges to suppliers associated with government programmes (note that in some cases, these government charges only apply to large and medium-sized suppliers).
  • These estimates are then combined with information on the relative scale of each of these categories of cost to calculate the trend in the overall Supplier Cost Index. The weights given to each category of costs are based on the most recent financial statements (2016) from the six large suppliers, and are as follows:

- wholesale electricity: 26.7%

- wholesale gas: 35.9%

- networks electricity: 15.4%

- networks gas: 14.4%

- government obligations electricity: 6.7%

- government obligations gas: 1.0%.

 

  • The index reflects estimated expected annual costs, covering the 12 months from the time of each update, based on the best information available at the time. So, for example, the value of the index for January 2017 will reflect estimated costs for the period 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2017, expressed relative to estimated expected annual costs as of the base period (1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015).
  • As the estimates are forward-looking, they therefore rely on forecasts and assumptions, and so will be subject to uncertainty. Information on suppliers’ realised costs is available in the financial statements published by the six large energy suppliers. See Understanding the profits of the large energy suppliers.
  • The index does not include suppliers' ‘back-office’ operating costs (such as the costs of billing or metering – including the costs of the smart meter rollout) or their profit margins, which suppliers will seek to cover when setting their prices. We are working to facilitate a more competitive, dynamic energy market, with more engaged consumers. Over time, we expect the changes we make to put more pressure on suppliers to keep such back-office costs down.
  • The index is based on trends in the average prices of wholesale gas and electricity forward contracts in the month prior to the update. Suppliers will take different approaches to purchasing their wholesale energy, and many will buy their energy over an extended period. The index does not seek to estimate any impact this may have on a supplier’s costs.
  • Other elements of costs are also likely to vary across individual suppliers. For example, suppliers may have some flexibility in how they meet their obligations under government programmes. This could mean, for example, that suppliers see different year-on-year changes in costs than indicated by the index where they have chosen to meet their obligations under the ECO scheme at the start of the delivery period (the forecasts used in the index are based on a flat delivery profile). Network charges will also vary between suppliers depending on things like the regional profile of their customer base. 
  • The index is calculated for a customer with typical consumption. We have held consumption fixed over time to increase comparability with trends in suppliers’ prices (which are also typically expressed for a given level of consumption). In practice, energy use will vary from one year to the next, depending on temperatures. Energy use is also subject to long-run trends, for example as a result of increasing energy efficiency. Trends in consumption will also have a significant impact on the size of customers’ bills.
  • Capacity market payments for winter 2017 are now included in the index. In contrast to the methodology document published in March 2017, we have categorised these as wholesale electricity costs. We consider that this allocation best reflects the nature of these costs, although we note the close relationship that exists between the different categories. We intend to keep under review what further detail might be provided on the costs associated with different government programmes. 
  • Since the August 2017 update, we have included the additional costs associated with the expected exemption of Energy Intensive Industries from the costs of the Renewable Obligation scheme, following the Government’s recent announcement. The Government’s decision on implementing the same exemption for the Feed-in Tariff scheme has yet to be published, and so the possible impact of a similar change to the way this programme is funded is not currently included.

Further details of how we calculate the index are provided in our methodology document.

 

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Chart

Source: Ofgem analysis.

Information correct as of: 1 November 2017

This chart shows the contribution of trends in different cost categories to the overall year-on-year change in the Supplier Cost Index.

At-a-glance summary

Between November 2016 and November 2017, the Supplier Cost Index decreased by 1.1%.

  • Wholesale electricity prices are substantially lower (decreasing the dual fuel index by 3.8 percentage points), while wholesale gas prices are higher than a year earlier.
  • Network charges for electricity fell, while gas network charges increased very slightly.
  • The overall reduction in wholesale costs and network charges in the dual fuel index compared to November 2016 is partially offset by the forecast costs associated with government programmes to support renewable and low-carbon electricity generation, which have increased the index by 1.8 percentage points. 

We update this chart on a quarterly basis. Click the ‘more information’ tab above for details of how to interpret the figures in the chart and for information on how the index has been calculated.

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - retail markets
  • Gas - retail markets

Data Table

Breakdown of the year-on-year change in the Supplier Cost Index

Impact on Cost Index (Nov 2017 vs Nov 2016)
Wholesale (electricity)-3.8
Wholesale (gas)1.5
Network (electricity)-0.7
Network (gas)0.2
Government obligations (electricity)1.8
Government obligations (gas)0.0

More information

How to interpret the year-on-year change in the Supplier Cost Index

The breakdown is calculated by combining the percentage change in each category of expected costs, with an estimate of the importance of that cost to suppliers' total costs. Adding the bars together gives the overall change in the index.

Note, therefore, that the percentages shown are not the same as the percentage change in the individual categories of costs. For example, if the chart shows a one percentage point contribution for wholesale gas this does not mean that wholesale gas costs have risen by 1%, rather that there has been an increase in wholesale gas costs which has caused the overall cost index to rise by 1%. As wholesale gas costs make up only one part of suppliers' overall costs, the percentage increase in these costs would have been significantly higher to result in a 1% increase in the overall cost index.

It is important to bear in mind that the contributions shown relate only to the direct charges to suppliers associated with the different types of costs, and do not take into account the relationships between the categories.

For instance, trends in network charges to electricity generators are not included in the ‘network charges’ component of the breakdown, as they are not paid directly by suppliers – and will instead affect wholesale electricity prices. To give another example, a reduction in wholesale prices (and so the wholesale cost component of the index) will be associated with an increase in supplier payments to fund Contracts for Difference, which support low carbon electricity generation.

For this reason, the contribution of different types of costs to the index cannot be interpreted as showing the totality of the impact of government policies or network charges on consumers’ bills.

Methodology

  • We calculate the Supplier Cost Index by estimating trends in network charges, wholesale prices and the charges to suppliers associated with government programmes (note that in some cases, these government charges only apply to large and medium-sized suppliers).
  • These estimates are then combined with information on the relative scale of each of these categories of cost to calculate the trend in the overall Supplier Cost Index. The weights given to each category of costs are based on the most recent financial statements (2016) from the six large suppliers, and are as follows: 

      - wholesale electricity: 26.7%

      - wholesale gas: 35.9%

      - networks electricity: 15.4%

      - networks gas: 14.4%

      - government obligations electricity: 6.7%

      - government obligations gas: 1.0%. 

  • The index reflects estimated expected annual costs, covering the 12 months from the time of each update, based on the best information available at the time. So, for example, the value of the index for January 2017 will reflect estimated costs for the period 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2017, expressed relative to estimated expected annual costs as of the base period (1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015).
  • As the estimates are forward-looking, they therefore rely on forecasts and assumptions, and so will be subject to uncertainty. Information on suppliers’ realised costs is available in the financial statements published by the six large energy suppliers. See Understanding the profits of the large energy suppliers. 
  • The index does not include suppliers' ‘back-office’ operating costs (such as the costs of billing or metering – including the costs of the smart meter rollout) or their profit margins, which suppliers will seek to cover when setting their prices. We are working to facilitate a more competitive, dynamic energy market, with more engaged consumers. Over time, we expect the changes we make to put more pressure on suppliers to keep such back-office costs down.
  • The index is based on trends in the average prices of wholesale gas and electricity forward contracts in the month prior to the update. Suppliers will take different approaches to purchasing their wholesale energy, and many will buy their energy over an extended period. The index does not seek to estimate any impact this may have on a supplier’s costs.
  • Other elements of costs are also likely to vary across individual suppliers. For example, suppliers may have some flexibility in how they meet their obligations under government programmes. This could mean, for example, that suppliers see different year-on-year changes in costs than indicated by the index where they have chosen to meet their obligations under the ECO scheme at the start of the delivery period (the forecasts used in the index are based on a flat delivery profile). Network charges will also vary between suppliers depending on things like the regional profile of their customer base. 
  • The index is calculated for a customer with typical consumption. We have held consumption fixed over time to increase comparability with trends in suppliers’ prices (which are also typically expressed for a given level of consumption). In practice, energy use will vary from one year to the next, depending on temperatures. Energy use is also subject to long-run trends, for example as a result of increasing energy efficiency. Trends in consumption will also have a significant impact on the size of customers’ bills.
  • Capacity market payments for winter 2017 are now included in the index. In contrast to the methodology document published in March 2017, we have categorised these as wholesale electricity costs. We consider that this allocation best reflects the nature of these costs, although we note the close relationship that exists between the different categories. We intend to keep under review what further detail might be provided on the costs associated with different government programmes. 
  • Since the August 2017 update, we have included the additional costs associated with the expected exemption of Energy Intensive Industries from the costs of the Renewable Obligation scheme, following the Government’s recent announcement. The Government’s decision on implementing the same exemption for the Feed-in Tariff scheme has yet to be published, and so the possible impact of a similar change to the way this programme is funded is not currently included.

Further details of how we calculate the index are provided in our methodology document

Further information

This chart is part of our quarterly update to the Supplier Cost Index. For further details, see Understanding the profits of the large energy suppliers.

 

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Switching and consumer experience

Consumers promote effective competition by being actively engaged in managing their energy, and making a credible threat of switching where better offers are available. This pressures suppliers to innovate and offer better products and services for them.

We look at trends in external switching (between suppliers) and internal switching (with the same supplier) to understand levels of consumer engagement. We also look at average switching times, an indicator of process quality, and consider trends in overall consumer satisfaction with suppliers. These indicators are a snapshot of our more detailed consumer research on market engagement.

Chart

Source: Ofgem analysis of data from electricity distribution network operators (DNOs), Xoserve and the six large suppliers before 2014.

Information correct as of: November 2017

This chart shows the total number of domestic customers switching gas and electricity supplier each month. It also shows, in dotted lines, the number of switches going to medium/small suppliers, as well as the net gains made by these suppliers (from November 2016).

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - retail markets
  • Gas - retail markets

Data Table

Number of domestic customers switching supplier by fuel type (GB)

MonthTotal electricity switchesTotal gas switchesSwitches to small and medium sized electricity suppliersSwitches to small and medium sized gas suppliersNet gains for small and medium sized electricity suppliersNet gains for small and medium sized gas suppliers
01/01/2003326,000266,000
01/02/2003337,000167,000
01/03/2003368,000239,000
01/04/2003351,000216,000
01/05/2003327,000245,000
01/06/2003344,000252,000
01/07/2003365,000260,000
01/08/2003318,000253,000
01/09/2003382,000296,000
01/10/2003370,000290,000
01/11/2003344,000280,000
01/12/2003371,000294,000
01/01/2004273,000303,000
01/02/2004341,000256,000
01/03/2004412,000334,000
01/04/2004341,000283,000
01/05/2004310,000266,000
01/06/2004356,000297,000
01/07/2004323,000275,000
01/08/2004331,000261,000
01/09/2004367,000276,000
01/10/2004406,000338,000
01/11/2004398,000370,000
01/12/2004340,000330,000
01/01/2005243,000281,000
01/02/2005359,000181,000
01/03/2005390,000302,000
01/04/2005384,000341,000
01/05/2005369,000304,000
01/06/2005365,000317,000
01/07/2005330,000271,000
01/08/2005375,000286,000
01/09/2005348,000298,000
01/10/2005416,000301,000
01/11/2005465,000329,000
01/12/2005361,000300,000
01/01/2006284,000290,000
01/02/2006347,000208,000
01/03/2006539,000366,000
01/04/2006418,000345,000
01/05/2006396,000372,000
01/06/2006364,000350,000
01/07/2006360,000295,000
01/08/2006428,000315,000
01/09/2006402,000358,000
01/10/2006429,000356,000
01/11/2006482,000374,000
01/12/2006392,000288,000
01/01/2007352,000346,000
01/02/2007390,000265,000
01/03/2007441,000333,000
01/04/2007392,000301,000
01/05/2007452,000334,000
01/06/2007426,000378,000
01/07/2007441,000352,000
01/08/2007501,000336,000
01/09/2007397,000289,000
01/10/2007477,000383,000
01/11/2007477,000343,000
01/12/2007411,000322,000
01/01/2008335,000344,000
01/02/2008441,000278,000
01/03/2008476,000313,000
01/04/2008438,000388,000
01/05/2008440,000335,000
01/06/2008459,000347,000
01/07/2008474,000361,000
01/08/2008553,000348,000
01/09/2008466,000427,000
01/10/2008478,000347,000
01/11/2008428,000336,000
01/12/2008439,000332,000
01/01/2009290,000331,000
01/02/2009364,000255,000
01/03/2009475,000311,000
01/04/2009423,000298,000
01/05/2009397,000324,000
01/06/2009434,000332,000
01/07/2009442,000327,000
01/08/2009388,000304,000
01/09/2009480,000343,000
01/10/2009455,000336,000
01/11/2009441,000330,000
01/12/2009438,000332,000
01/01/2010259,000307,0006622
01/02/2010353,000217,0008884
01/03/2010460,000316,0007735
01/04/2010379,000307,0009193
01/05/2010352,000271,0007564
01/06/2010413,000289,0002986
01/07/2010398,000292,0003007
01/08/2010419,000296,0003928
01/09/2010426,000305,0006836
01/10/2010409,000305,0004253
01/11/2010456,000322,00010827
01/12/2010425,000328,00011251
01/01/2011270,000279,0003280
01/02/2011324,000211,0006340
01/03/2011400,000307,0006597
01/04/2011360,000246,0004273
01/05/2011356,000308,0007479
01/06/2011393,000259,0008895
01/07/2011397,000301,0008868
01/08/2011449,000343,00016021
01/09/2011343,000309,00013281
01/10/2011326,000247,00019478
01/11/2011329,000240,00019854
01/12/2011259,000219,00012620
01/01/2012210,000194,00022337
01/02/2012257,000149,00029128
01/03/2012279,000190,00020817
01/04/2012232,000176,00012872
01/05/2012286,000202,00019167
01/06/2012272,000192,00041228
01/07/2012257,000190,00018762
01/08/2012265,000187,00013366
01/09/2012312,000195,00022,561
01/10/2012366,000273,00072,968
01/11/2012338,000174,00066,652
01/12/2012266,000159,00050,393
01/01/2013228,000157,92943,231
01/02/2013247,000117,96449,082
01/03/2013247,000144,21329,156
01/04/2013251,000186,69029,311
01/05/2013234,000155,03124,985
01/06/2013218,000148,45335,281
01/07/2013232,000160,79331,292
01/08/2013210,000140,74932,638
01/09/2013254,000145,41427,969
01/10/2013381,186213,58971,447
01/11/2013606,061358,799138,394
01/12/2013309,978260,32593,626
01/01/2014214,944188,87093,57973,618
01/02/2014253,295169,946106,70877,109
01/03/2014269,497195,773134,80292,080
01/04/2014252,047201,512133,319104,617
01/05/2014228,628179,604124,802100,417
01/06/2014201,381163,56898,58687,363
01/07/2014219,026145,714104,62573,414
01/08/2014223,581150,623113,96076,153
01/09/2014283,877180,965138,186102,117
01/10/2014309,890232,178118,527108,942
01/11/2014270,603216,783108,79388,088
01/12/2014311,298250,638103,86781,917
01/01/2015190,554155,78973,97758,597
01/02/2015291,341230,518102,44590,566
01/03/2015382,809304,679135,965103,196
01/04/2015272,996214,556108,97679,892
01/05/2015239,574197,166108,49988,984
01/06/2015229,825174,688105,81483,896
01/07/2015239,343192,299108,28786,631
01/08/2015253,099195,183116,63393,783
01/09/2015279,411223,703128,043100,534
01/10/2015349,278274,581161,602121,335
01/11/2015343,870274,206161,034131,736
01/12/2015310,293242,630148,668117,677
01/01/2016245,922189,143139,539109,708
01/02/2016390,645305,057176,036143,238
01/03/2016453,964361,399244,232196,273
01/04/2016386,456273,751204,748151,645
01/05/2016345,146261,324169,711127,352
01/06/2016335,879252,712143,231104,674
01/07/2016303,404221,175140,898103,662
01/08/2016310,132209,178149,026108,997
01/09/2016349,203271,374154,142116,032
01/10/2016486,878384,023150,747118,328
01/11/2016386,585297,468147,607116,24536,64423,680
01/12/2016423,068317,740230,753176,05191,05368,890
01/01/2017319,503239,759203,630158,23097,49678,267
01/02/2017398,150296,055220,784173,226107,16787,624
01/03/2017512,855388,103280,224223,528142,155113,040
01/04/2017449,463327,288274,019212,426143,717114,265
01/05/2017414,285304,615251,465193,355124,32799,096
01/06/2017379,345315,542198,431161,88987,24073,252
01/07/2017350,660306,437177,209158,66172,36067,749
01/08/2017414,308348,605221,136191,41997,84796,747
01/09/2017518,906454,861276,304242,592150,545141,015

More information

At-a-glance summary

The number of domestic gas and electricity customers switching supplier generally follows a seasonal pattern (with peaks around March and November then dipping in January and the summer months). Switching declined significantly from 2008 to 2012, and then levelled out. It has been on the rise since 2014 and the number of domestic switches in the year up to the end of September 2017 was 23% higher than in the 12 preceding months for electricity and 27% higher for gas.

Electricity switching increased slightly between August and September 2017 to 519,000. This was the highest level of electricity switching in September ever recorded. There have been higher levels in August 2008 (553,000) and November 2013 (606,000). Gas switching also increased compared to August and reached 455,000, the highest ever level of gas switching to be recorded in any month.

The number of switches to small and medium suppliers has continued to increase. Net switching gains were around 151,000 and 141,000 for electricity and gas respectively, a rise of around 73% and 65% from the previous month.

Relevance and further information

External switching, from one supplier to another, is one measure of consumer engagement with the market. The number of switches to small and medium sized suppliers show how these suppliers are attracting customers over time. For summary information on the switching figures for the year please see also the facts and figures.

Methodology

The number of customers switching supplier shown in the graph is based on the number of meter points a supplier gains from another following a customer choice to change their supplier.

The net gains for small and medium suppliers is calculated by subtracting from the gross meter point gains these suppliers achieve over the month the gross number of meter points these suppliers lose over the same period.

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Chart

Source: Six large suppliers.

Information correct as of: October 2017

This chart shows the proportion of monthly internal switches for domestic gas and electricity customer accounts for the six large suppliers. As a benchmark, the chart also shows monthly external switching rates (ie to another supplier) for the whole market.

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - retail markets
  • Gas - retail markets

Data Table

Large suppliers: Internal and external switching rate by fuel type (GB)

Electricity total internal switching rateGas total internal switching rateElectricity total external switching rateGas total external switching rateElectricity internal switching rate by tariffGas internal switching rate by tariff
Nov-145.03%5.70%0.89%1.03%2.34%2.77%
Dec-144.21%4.75%1.13%1.19%1.86%2.14%
Jan-154.78%5.61%0.69%0.74%2.91%3.54%
Feb-155.22%5.96%0.94%1.10%2.89%3.34%
Mar-155.26%5.94%1.38%1.45%3.40%3.93%
Apr-155.41%6.21%0.99%1.02%2.70%3.15%
May-153.84%4.26%0.97%0.94%1.69%1.89%
Jun-153.14%3.38%0.83%0.83%1.61%1.75%
Jul-153.34%3.64%0.86%0.91%1.82%2.01%
Aug-153.95%4.29%0.91%0.93%1.76%1.89%
Sep-153.50%3.80%1.01%1.06%1.98%2.19%
Oct-153.78%4.15%1.26%1.31%2.02%2.24%
Nov-153.92%4.25%1.24%1.30%2.10%2.31%
Dec-153.31%3.55%1.11%1.15%1.67%1.76%
Jan-164.78%5.39%0.88%0.90%3.00%3.46%
Feb-165.00%5.54%1.40%1.45%3.15%3.53%
Mar-164.88%5.40%1.63%1.72%2.72%3.08%
Apr-164.40%4.80%1.38%1.30%2.28%2.56%
May-163.82%4.23%1.24%1.24%2.12%2.37%
Jun-164.43%4.82%1.20%1.20%2.28%2.48%
Jul-164.26%4.59%1.09%1.05%1.95%2.07%
Aug-162.82%2.98%1.11%0.99%1.55%1.65%
Sep-163.90%6.26%1.25%1.29%1.99%2.09%
Oct-165.10%5.48%1.74%1.82%2.12%2.23%
Nov-164.45%4.85%1.38%1.41%2.05%2.25%
Dec-163.14%3.41%1.51%1.51%1.33%1.47%
Jan-174.33%4.81%1.14%1.14%2.18%2.46%
Feb-175.46%6.02%1.42%1.40%2.93%3.28%
Mar-175.11%5.51%1.83%1.84%2.91%3.19%
Apr-174.73%5.20%1.60%1.55%2.92%3.22%
May-174.46%4.78%1.47%1.45%2.23%2.33%
Jun-174.02%4.36%1.35%1.37%1.97%2.19%

More information

At-a-glance summary

Between November 2014 and April 2015, the monthly internal switching rate for the six large suppliers grew and peaked. Since April 2015 the switching rate has fluctuated but generally decreased. It shows a seasonal pattern similar to external switching.

In the period up to June 2017, both internal total and internal tariff switching rates have been significantly higher than the external switching rate for the whole domestic segment.

Relevance and further information

Together, internal and external switching rates provide a more comprehensive indicator of how engaged consumers are in the domestic retail energy market.

To note, we also publish monthly switching numbers separately. The two sets of data use different sources, and run to different timescales.

Methodology 

Internal total switching refers to a customer changing tariff, payment method or account management (online/offline) with their existing supplier. 

Internal tariff switching only includes tariff changes that, as a minimum, represent ‘active choices’. For example, the observed switch from a ‘dead’ tariff or an existing fixed tariff to a default standard variable tariff may not reflect an active choice and is not included in the internal tariff switching rate.

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Chart

Javascript is required to render chart Average switching time for domestic customers (GB) .

Source: Ofgem analysis of electricity distribution network operator (DNO) and Xoserve (gas) data.

Information correct as of: October 2017

This chart shows a month-on-month view of the average time it takes for a domestic customer to switch supplier which is sourced from the network operator data.

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - retail markets
  • Gas - retail markets

Data Table

Average switching time for domestic customers (GB)

MonthAverage electricity switching timeAverage gas switching time
01/01/201424
01/02/201423
01/03/20141822
01/04/20141823
01/05/20141823
01/06/20141824
01/07/20141722
01/08/20141822
01/09/20141822
01/10/20141822
01/11/20141821
01/12/20141620
01/01/20151620
01/02/20151516
01/03/20151615
01/04/20151616
01/05/20151516
01/06/20151616
01/07/20151616
01/08/20151616
01/09/20151618
01/10/20151517
01/11/20151517
01/12/20151618
01/01/20161618
01/02/20161618
01/03/20161617
01/04/20161617
01/05/20161617
01/06/20161617
01/07/20161617
01/08/20161617
01/09/20161616
01/10/20161516
01/11/20161616
01/12/20161517
01/01/20171617
01/02/20171516
01/03/20171616
01/04/20171617
01/05/20171517
01/06/20171615

More information

At-a-glance summary

Between January 2014 and June 2017, the average switching time for gas fell by 9 days to 15 days. There was a slight peak in late 2015 and early 2016. This follows changes to gas industry rules in November 2013.

The average switching time for electricity has been relatively steady since the end of 2014 at around 16 days.

Relevance and further information

The average switching time is a useful indicator of how long a switch takes to complete. This affects a customer’s incentive and ability to take advantage of the best offers available in the market.

Methodology

Supply licences require licensees to take all reasonable steps to complete a transfer 21 days after the end of the 14 day cooling-off period (or after an earlier date during the cooling-off if agreed with the customer).

Switching time is measured here by the number of calendar days it takes from when a supplier submits a switching request to the transfer taking place. We source our data from distribution network operators, so our analysis does not reflect the time taken by the supplier to submit a switching request, which may happen at the end or during the cooling-off period, nor the additional time to process the contract with the customer.

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Chart

Source: GfK Energy Research Panel.

Information correct as of: November 2017

This chart shows quarterly customer satisfaction trends for gas and electricity suppliers in Great Britain. It is based on an aggregate of those reporting being ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the service they receive from their supplier. From January 2017 onwards, a new methodology for the customer satisfaction survey has been used. Please see the more information tab for details.

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - retail markets
  • Gas - retail markets

Data Table

Energy customers satisfied or very satisfied with their supplier's services (GB)

Quarter EndingElectricityGasElectricity new methodologyGas new methodology
30/06/201059%59%
30/09/201058%58%
31/12/201056%55%
31/03/201157%56%
30/06/201154%56%
30/09/201152%52%
31/12/201150%50%
31/03/201249%49%
30/06/201250%51%
30/09/201251%52%
31/12/201250%50%
31/03/201352%54%
30/06/201351%52%
30/09/201351%52%
31/12/201349%50%
31/03/201450%50%
30/06/201449%50%
30/09/201450%50%
31/12/201450%50%
31/03/201551%51%
30/06/201551%52%
30/09/201551%52%
30/12/201552%52%
31/03/201652%52%
31/06/201653%53%
31/09/201654%54%
31/12/201654%54%
31/03/201769%69%
31/06/201773%73%
31/09/201772%72%

More information

At-a-glance summary

Between 2010 and 2011 the proportion of satisfied and very satisfied customers fell from around 60 to 50 per cent. Thereafter satisfaction has remained broadly stable at around 50%, edging up slightly since 2014 and reaching 54% in Q4 2016.

Using the new methodology satisfaction for both gas and electricity is at 72% for Q3 2017. Note: Q2 2017 and Q3 2017 have been published at the same time.

Relevance and further information

Levels of customer satisfaction give a general indication of how well the market is working, from the viewpoint of the customer. This can help us understand levels of market engagement.

Methodology

This chart is based on the responses to a consumer survey by the GfK Energy Research Panel. The panel is based on a large sample size (10,000 customers), updated every quarter, and has been running since 2010.

Customers were asked the question 'How satisfied are you with the service you get from your current supplier?’. The question was asked separately for gas and electricity.

In 2017 Gfk changed their methodology in a number of ways that affect the comparability of data, wave on wave. From 2017 this data comes from an online survey, whereas prior to 2017, surveys were done online and over the phone. Also, prior to 2017, the five metrics presented were asked on a 5 point satisfaction scale. Customers were asked the extent they were satisfied with each aspect, and answered either very satisfied, fairly satisfied, neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, fairly dissatisfied, very dissatisfied.

From 2017 these answer scales have changed. Overall satisfaction, ease of contact and ease of understanding bill are now asked on 7 point scales. For these metrics we now show the data for those who said extremely satisfied, very satisfied or fairly satisfied. Recommendation is now asked on a scale of 0-10. We are showing data for customers who said that their likelihood to recommend their supplier on a scale of 0-10 was 8 or above. The question on suppliers valuing customers has remained a 5 point scale and so the data presented remains the same (those who answered very satisfied or fairly satisfied).  

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Methodology and sources

We have selected this range of indicators to support general understanding of the market, including how they contribute to the consumer outcomes outlined in our corporate strategy. We also aim to provide a picture of the market where it is not produced elsewhere, or where there is scope for us to set a clear methodology for the data.

Our data comes from sources that are either publicly available, provided by third parties or from responses to Ofgem information requests. Specific sources and relevant dates are listed with each indicator. We are grateful to third parties for allowing us to reproduce their data. 

Most of these indicators will be updated quarterly while still allowing access to historic information. Updates will depend on the availability of data for an indicator. 

We will review the indicators periodically to ensure they continue to help promote transparency and understanding of the retail energy market and as additional sources of information become available.

Related publications

State of the energy markets 2017

Retail energy markets in 2016

Retail energy markets in 2015

State of the market assessment 2014

These market indicators and data are not intended for use or to be relied on for any commercial purposes. View copyright and disclaimer

Publications and updates

  • Published: 4th Dec 2017
  • Charts and data
  • 1 Associated documents
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