Data portal

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 at May 2017

  • The differential between the average dual fuel standard variable tariff (SVT) and the cheapest available deal for customers paying by direct debit widened to £250 in March and April 2017. While the price of the cheapest tariff increased by 6%, SVT prices rose more as previously announced increases took effect. See Prices and profits.
  • March 2017 saw a large increase in switching for both gas and electricity: the number of electricity switches was 512,000 and that of gas was 388,000, respectively the fourth and the second highest ever in a single month since 2003. See Switching and consumer experience.
  • The number of net switching gains for small and medium-sized suppliers, away from the six large suppliers, continued on an increasing trend, reaching 113,000 for gas and 142,000 for electricity in March, up from 85,000 and 107,000 respectively in February. 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 supplier reports.

Information correct as of: December 2016

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

More information

At-a-glance summary

There were 52 active suppliers in the domestic gas and electricity retail markets as of December 2016. These consisted of the six vertically-integrated large suppliers and 46 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 been increasing due to significant entry of new suppliers. This growth accelerated in 2015 with the entry of 13 suppliers and continued with 12 more in 2016.

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. 

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Chart

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

Source: Ofgem analysis of gas distribution network reports from Xoserve.

Information correct as of: December 2016

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

More information

At-a-glance summary

Between 2005 and Q4 2016, the market share for the largest gas supplier in the GB domestic market (British Gas) declined by 20 percentage points, to 35%. Nonetheless, this remains significantly higher than the next largest competitor (SSE), who held 12% in December 2016.

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 16% in Q4 2016. Six of these (Utility Warehouse, OVO, First Utility, Utilita, Extra Energy and Cooperative Energy) have increased their individual market shares above 1%, with First Utility reaching over 4%. In November 2016, Cooperative Energy acquired all the customers of GB Energy Supply. As a result, their market share increased by around 0.4 percentage points relative to Q3 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: December 2016

This chart shows the domestic electricity 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:

  • Electricity - retail markets

Data Table

Electricity supply market shares by company: Domestic (GB)
British GasEDFE.ONRWE npowerScottish PowerSSECo-operative EnergyExtra EnergyFirst UtilityOVOUtilitaUtility WarehouseOthers
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%0%1%0%0%0%0%
Q1 201325%13%17%13%12%18%0%0%1%1%0%0%1%
Q2 201325%13%17%13%12%18%0%0%1%1%0%0%1%
Q3 201325%13%16%13%12%18%0%0%1%0%0%0%1%
Q4 201324%13%16%12%12%18%1%0%1%0%0%1%1%
Q1 201424%13%16%12%12%17%1%0%1%1%0%2%1%
Q2 201424%13%16%12%11%17%1%0%2%1%0%2%1%
Q3 201424%13%16%11%11%17%1%0%2%1%0%2%1%
Q4 201424%13%16%11%11%17%1%0%3%1%1%2%2%
Q1 201524%13%16%11%11%16%1%1%3%2%1%2%2%
Q2 201524%12%16%11%11%16%1%1%3%2%1%2%2%
Q3 201524%12%16%11%11%16%1%1%3%2%1%2%2%
Q4 201523%12%15%10%11%16%1%1%3%2%1%2%3%
Q1 201623%12%15%10%11%15%1%1%3%2%1%2%3%
Q2 201623%12%15%10%11%15%1%1%3%2%1%2%4%
Q3 201623%12%14%10%11%15%1%1%3%2%1%2%4%
Q4 201623%12%14%10%11%15%1%1%3%2%2%2%4%

More information

At-a-glance summary

Between 2004 and Q4 2016, the combined market share for five of the large electricity suppliers (excluding British Gas) in the GB domestic market declined by fourteen percentage points, from 75% to 61%. Individual market shares fluctuated between 10% and 21%. 

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, they have grown significantly and reached a 15% market share in Q4 2016. Six of these (Utility Warehouse, OVO, First Utility, Utilita, Extra Energy and Cooperative Energy) have increased their individual market shares above 1%, with First Utility reaching over 3%. In November 2016, Cooperative Energy acquired all the customers of GB Energy Supply. As a result, their market share increased by around 0.5 percentage points relative to Q3 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.

Information correct as of: April 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. 

This information should not be used as a price comparison tool. To find out about accredited price comparison sites, see the Citizens Advice energy shopping guide

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
28/02/20171061.061034.48938.01833.71876.52
28/03/20171086.311038.66936.81833.71875.30
28/04/20171129.071055.29938.20880.42889.92

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, the cheapest tariff in the market and the cheapest offered by the six large suppliers have increased by around 19% and 27% respectively, driven primarily by increases in wholesale prices.

The average price of SVTs offered by the six large suppliers increased throughout March and April, reaching £1,129 at the end of April. This is the first round of increases in SVT prices, concerning most of these suppliers, since the end of 2013. The differential between the average price of the SVT offered by the six largest suppliers and the cheapest tariff in the market reached a two-year low of £230 in February 2017, but has been at £250 in March and April, despite a 6% increase in the price of the cheapest tariff, as a result of the increase in the price of SVTs.

The differential between the basket of cheapest tariffs and the average standard variable tariff for the six large suppliers stood at around £240 in April, an increase of 13% 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 September 2015, typical consumption values for a medium consumer are 12,500kWh/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 licenses 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 ten 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 ten 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.

Information correct as of: April 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.

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
28/02/2017938.011007.571032.36833.71943.99985.97
28/03/2017936.811031.321035.64833.71964.36985.97
28/04/2017938.201013.781010.42880.42962.45999.73

More information

At-a-glance summary

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 over 2015 and 2016 at around £100, before increasing to around £120 between November 2016 and March 2017. It fell to around £80 in April 2017.

The gap between the cheapest prepayment and direct debit tariff peaked at around £320 in March 2016. It has fallen steadily since then to around £120 in April 2017. This was due to a combination of large movements in the price of the cheapest direct debit tariffs, mostly upwards, and a relatively more stable trend in the price of the cheapest prepayment tariffs.

Please note that the prepayment tariff price cap came into effect on 1 April. 

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 payment methods using a ‘typical medium domestic consumer’. As of September 2015, typical domestic consumption values for a medium consumer are 12,500kWh/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 licenses that partner with an active licensed supplier to offer gas and electricity using their own brand.

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Chart

Source: Companies’ consolidated segmental statements.

Information correct as of: August 2016

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, which also cover the margins obtained by these suppliers in the non-domestic supply and generation businesses. For more information, please see Understanding the profits of the large energy suppliers.

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%
20156.96%4.52%-0.69%-6.78%5.67%6.25%3.95%

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 looking across the six large suppliers grew from around 1% to around 4%, although there were significant differences between suppliers. British Gas reported an increase in its domestic margins from 5.3% to 7.0% between 2014 and 2015, while SSE reported a smaller increase from 6.0% to 6.2% year-on-year. In contrast, npower incurred significant losses in 2015 with its domestic supply profit margin of -6.8% down from 2.7%. The combined margins of the other large suppliers also fell although by smaller amounts.

Relevance and further information

This chart helps us understand trends in profits for the domestic supply market and how it differs between suppliers.

Methodology

The supply margins shown in this chart are calculated as the ratio between a company’s Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT) – which we also refer to as suppliers’ pre-tax margins and its total revenues from supplying gas and electricity.

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

Figures are calculated using information from companies’ annual Consolidated Segmental Statements (CSS) and 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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Chart

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 2016

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
201550627986718447551165

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 2% between 2014 and 2015 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. Averaging across the large suppliers, profit margins on both domestic and non-domestic supply have fallen compared to the previous year, although there were big differences between companies.

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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Chart

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

Source: Ofgem analysis.

Information correct as of: 1 February 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 has continued to rise and, as of 1 February 2017, was around 18% higher than its level in January 2016 (a 3% increase from our previous update).  
  • The steep rise in the second half of 2016 and into the start of 2017 follows a long period of falling costs between the start of 2014 and early 2016. Reductions over that period were much larger for gas than electricity. The overall index remains around 6% below its level at the start of 2014: with the electricity index around 8% higher than its level as of 1 January 2014, and the gas index around 20% lower. 
  • Note that the index is based on trends in wholesale gas and electricity prices in the month prior to the update. It therefore does not take into account the impact of longer-term hedging strategies.

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-14 = 100)Dual FuelElectricityGas
Jan-14100100100
Feb-1497.297.896.7
Mar-1494.595.893.3
Apr-1494.896.293.4
May-1492.394.390.3
Jun-1491.594.188.9
Jul-1490.193.586.8
Aug-1489.393.485.3
Sep-1492.496.588.2
Oct-1493.298.188.3
Nov-1492.397.986.7
Dec-1492.29886.4
Jan-1590.696.984.3
Feb-158592.877.1
Mar-1588.195.380.9
Apr-1586.993.979.8
May-1586.794.179.2
Jun-1585.99477.9
Jul-1585.794.277.2
Aug-1585.194.276.1
Sep-1583.593.473.5
Oct-1583.59472.9
Nov-1582.593.671.3
Dec-1580.893.468.2
Jan-1679.693.166.1
Feb-167791.262.7
Mar-1676.991.762
Apr-1677.893.262.3
May-1678.593.963.1
Jun-1680.795.865.4
Jul-168599.870.2
Aug-1688.6103.274
Sep-1686.7102.171.2
Oct-1686.4102.969.9
Nov-1696.4115.976.8
Dec-1696.9115.977.7
Jan-1791.2106.475.9
Feb-1794.2108.280.1

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 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 as of the base period in January 2014 are as follows: wholesale electricity - 27.5%, wholesale gas - 35.2%, networks electricity - 15.0%, networks gas - 13.3%, government obligations electricity - 7.6% , government obligations gas - 1.3%. 
  • 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 2014 to 31 December 2014). 
  • 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, and over time, we expect the changes we make to increase the 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. Network charges will vary between suppliers depending on things like the regional profile of their customer base. 
  • The index is calculated for a customer with typical consumption, which we have held fixed over time to increase comparability with trends in suppliers’ prices (which are also typically expressed for a given level of consumption). In fact, 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 January, we have categorised these as wholesale electricity costs. We welcome views on how these and other costs associated with government’s electricity market reform programme might best be categorised within the cost index, in light of the interactions between what is classed as ‘wholesale electricity’ and ‘government obligation’ costs.

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

This chart is part of our quarterly update to the Supplier Cost Index. For further details, see Understanding trends in energy prices.

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Chart

Source: Ofgem analysis.

Information correct as of: 1 February 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 February 2016 and February 2017, the Supplier Cost Index increased by 22.4%.  
  • The chart shows that the biggest factor in the increase compared to a year before is the significant rise in expected wholesale costs. Increases in wholesale electricity and gas prices pushed the index up by 9.1 and 11.7 percentage points respectively. Note that the index is based on trends in wholesale gas and electricity prices in the month prior to the update, and does not take into account the impact of longer-term hedging strategies 
  • There has also been some upwards pressure as a result of increases in the expected costs of government programmes for electricity customers.

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 (Feb 2017 vs Feb 2016)
Wholesale (electricity)9.1
Wholesale (gas)11.7
Network (electricity)-0.7
Network (gas)-0.3
Government obligations (electricity)2.7
Government obligations (gas)-0.2

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 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 as of the base period in January 2014 are as follows: wholesale electricity - 27.5%, wholesale gas - 35.2%, networks electricity - 15.0%, networks gas - 13.3%, government obligations electricity - 7.6% , government obligations gas - 1.3%. 
  • 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 2014 to 31 December 2014). 
  • 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, and over time we expect the changes we make to the retail markets to increase 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. Network charges will vary between suppliers depending on things like the regional profile of their customer base. 
  • The index is calculated for a customer with typical consumption, which we have held fixed over time to increase comparability with trends in suppliers’ prices (which are also typically expressed for a given level of consumption). In fact, 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 January, we have categorised these as wholesale electricity costs. We welcome views on how these and other costs associated with government’s electricity market reform programme might best be categorised within the cost index, in light of the interactions between what is classed as ‘wholesale electricity’ and ‘government obligation’ costs.

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 trends in energy prices.

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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: March 2016

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
01/12/2016423,068317,74091,05368,890
01/01/2017319,503239,75997,49678,267
01/02/2017398,150296,055107,16787,624
01/03/2017512,855388,103142,155113,040

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 March 2017 has been 26% higher than in the 12 preceding months for electricity and 20% higher for gas. There was a significant increase in electricity switches to over 510,000 in March 2017, 13% higher than in March 2016.  It is the highest observed number of electricity switches for the month of March since 2006. The number of gas switches in March was 388,000, the highest monthly switching level since September 2008.

In March 2017, the net switching gains for small and medium suppliers stood at around 142,000 and 113,000 meter points for electricity and gas respectively, showing that more people are switching away from the six large suppliers. This continues the trend of increasing switches to smaller suppliers since Q4 2016.

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.

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: December 2016

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%

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.

Throughout the period up to December 2016, 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.

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.

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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: December 2016

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.

Under the more information tab you can find additional data on the percentage of switches in Q4 2016 that suppliers completed in the time limit they are obligated to meet.

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

More information

At-a-glance summary

Between January 2014 and December 2016, the average switching time for gas has fallen by 8 days to 17 days, although it was at 16 days for the three preceding months. 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 remained around 16 days since end-2014.

The average switching time for electricity has been flat since the end of 2014 at around 16 days, with a slight decrease in the winter months.

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: December 2016

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. 

Policy Areas:

  • Electricity - retail markets
  • Gas - retail markets

Data Table

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

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.

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.

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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

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