Retail highlights September 2021

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. 

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

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

Market structure

In Q1 2021, the number of active licensed suppliers in the domestic retail market fell from 52 to 49 in the previous quarter. Four suppliers exited the market and one supplier entered in this period.

The market share of the large legacy suppliers stood at 70%, while other large, medium and small suppliers accounted for the remaining 30%, in both domestic electricity and gas markets. These overall market shares were unchanged compared to the previous quarter.

For our classification of suppliers by size see the ‘more information’ tab of the market share indicators.

Prices and profits

As of August 2021, the average price of SVTs with large legacy suppliers for a typical dual fuel customer paying with direct debit remained at £1,138, unchanged from the previous month.

The price of the cheapest tariff basket increased by £69, from £1,015 to £1,084, further reflecting the upward trend in wholesale prices. As a result, the differential between the average price of SVTs for the large legacy suppliers and the cheapest tariff basket fell from £123 to £54 in August 2021. This is the narrowest differential observed since 2012.

Switching

During the first half of 2021 switching has fluctuated significantly, showing a big increase in March and a sharp drop in May. It has since been relatively stable. July 2021 saw a slight increase (3%) compared with June, but the overall number of switches remained at the lowest level recorded for the month of July since 2017.

Switches in July 2021 increased from 397,816 to 415,197 in electricity and from 283,099 to 286,140 in gas. These figures were, respectively, 23% and 26% lower than those recorded in July 2020.

In July 2021, the proportion of net gains in switching away from the large legacy suppliers was 29% of total switches for gas and electricity combined, up from 25% in the previous month.

Methodology and sources

We have selected this range of indicators to support general understanding of the market, including how they contribute to the key priorities outlined in our strategic narrative. 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.