Retail market indicators

Retail highlights April 2022

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 2021, the number of active licensed suppliers in the domestic retail market fell from 44 to 26 in the previous quarter. As the gas price crisis continued, the market saw 19 exits and one entry (Yu Energy, formerly a non-domestic supplier only, was appointed as supplier of last resort for Ampower). In the first quarter of 2022 the number of exits has reduced significantly. These will be reflected in the next updates of our market structure indicators.

The market share of the large legacy suppliers continued to increase. It was up by one percentage point in both fuels, reaching 71% in gas and electricity markets (the increase mainly reflects the appointment of some large legacy suppliers as supplier of last resort for several failed providers in Q4 2021, as well as some increased switching gains for the large legacy suppliers as a group during the gas crisis). The other large, medium and small suppliers accounted for the remaining 29% market share, including Octopus which was up by three percentage points to 11%.

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

Prices and profits

In March 2022 the wholesale market continued to experience increased volatility following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The price of fixed tariffs not covered by the default tariff cap have increased accordingly, reaching well above £3,000. Prices of variable and other default tariffs subject to the cap have remained among the cheapest deals available on the market.

The average price of SVTs with large legacy suppliers for a typical dual fuel customer paying with direct debit stayed at £1,277, coinciding with the winter cap level.

The cheapest tariff basket was stable at £1,268. As a result, the differential between the average price of SVTs for the large legacy suppliers and the cheapest tariff basket was also unchanged at £9. This remains the narrowest differential on records since we started publishing this indicator in 2012.

On 1 April 2022, the cap levels came into force for the eighth charge restriction period from 1 April 2022 – 30 September 2022. For a typical dual fuel customer paying with direct debit the cap increased to £1,971, up by 54% since the last update. This change will be reflected in the next update of our price indicators.

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.

Switching

In February 2022, the total number of switches was up 12% relative to January 2022 but remained 83% below the level observed in February 2021. The number of electricity switches rose to 73,167 from 64,595, while gas switches increased to 50,886 from 46,100.

The proportion of net gains switching away from the large legacy supplier was around 0%, compared to 31% in February 2021, reflecting customers’ continued concerns about the risk of small suppliers failing. 

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.