Retail market indicators

Retail highlights May 2024

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 Q4 2023 the number of active licensed suppliers decreased by one. This was due to exit of Shell which got acquired by Octopus in December 2023.   

The combined market share of the large legacy suppliers was 70% in electricity and 69% in gas. Other large, medium and small suppliers accounted for the remaining 30% and 31%  for electricity and gas respectively.

For our classification of suppliers by size see the ‘information tab’ of the market share indicators either for electricity or gas. 

Prices and profits

In April 2024 wholesale prices continued to be very volatile and extremely sensitive to market news. Significant price spikes were associated with tensions in the Middle East, Russian Ukraine conflict together with unplanned outages and earlier summer maintenance plans in Norwegian processing plants.  For more detailed updates on wholesale prices visit Wholesale market indicators | Ofgem

The number of new fixed tariffs on offer decreased slightly compared to March. Around 77% of these offers became available to the whole market, rather than just to existing customers, prices generally close to or lower than the price cap for 1 April to 30 June 2024. The average fixed tariff was priced at £1,652 in April 2024, lower than £1,654 in the previous month.

In April 2024, the average price of SVTs with large legacy suppliers for a typical dual fuel customer paying with direct debit dropped to £1,690. The cheapest tariff basket decreased from £1,633 to £1,589. As a result, the differential between the average price of SVTs for the large legacy suppliers and the cheapest tariff basket also decreased to £101 from £295 in the previous month.

The update of all profit and average bill indicators based on Consolidated Segmental Statements (CSS) has been paused. Only three large domestic legacy suppliers (British Gas, EDF and Scottish Power) and one non-domestic supplier (SSE) had submitted a CSS under existing regulation. This information is insufficient to generate market representative statistics. A review of the CSS obligation is now completed and will expand CSS reporting to most of the domestic and non-domestic market. This will apply to supplier financial accounts for 2023 onwards with publication 10 months after the company’s financial year end. We intend to resume the publication of these indicators as soon as new data becomes available. Read about the review here - Reviewing the Consolidated Segmental Statements – our decision | Ofgem.

From 14 April 2022, we have required suppliers to pay a Market Stabilisation Charge when acquiring new customers. The market stabilisation charge will only apply in certain market conditions (that would otherwise create risks to market stability), which we will assess on a weekly basis. You can find out if the Market Stabilisation Charge has been triggered, and if so what the level of the charge is on our website at Market Stabilisation Charge dashboard | Ofgem. As per the latest update, it is no more necessary in the new market conditions and hence has come to an end on 31 March 2024.

Switching

In March 2024, the total number of switches saw a 7% increase relative to February 2024 and up by approx. 37% compared to the level observed in March 2023. It is also 131 % higher if we compare it to two years ago. However, the total number of switches decreased by 43% compared to August 2021, which was before the gas crisis started. The number of electricity switches increased from 176,369 in February 2024 to 192,941 in March 2024 and gas switches from 142,798 in February 2024 to 149,830 in March 2024.  To note, Xoserve has recently provided updated historical figures, hence the data from June 2022, alongside the March 2024 figures has been updated in the chart.

The proportion of net gains switching away from the large legacy supplier was around 30% in March 2024, continuing to reflect mainly customers moving towards other large and medium suppliers.

Customer credit balances

Suppliers’ Customer Credit Balances (CCBs) are an important aspect of the retail energy market, and this is reflected in licence obligations in relation to both consumer standards and supplier financial resilience.

The data below reflects Ofgem's chosen policy measure. This is for Fixed Direct Debit domestic customers.  This focuses the analysis on how households are impacted by CCBs. We have ‘netted off unbilled consumption’ meaning that energy you have paid for but not used does not feature. Finally, as Customer credit balances are seasonal (they rise in summer months and are then spent in colder winter months) we have included the yearly average to disaggregate the seasonal variation from its underlying trend.

These figures reflect households that are in credit, the values are true as of the last day of each calendar quarter (31st March, 30th June, 30th September 31st December).

Finally, the use of quartiles may be impacted as usage changes in the future, which would need to be reviewed and recognised.

This data is published by the end of March, June, September and December each year.  For further information see customer credit balances explanatory note.

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.