For many years the “Big Six” have dominated Britain’s energy market. Despite the fact consumers have the potential to save hundreds of pounds every year on their energy bills, they seem reluctant to make the switch. However, the competitive prices offered by independent providers are becoming harder to ignore.
Before making a decision, we understand that lots of customers need to see the pros and cons of switching to a smaller provider. Below are a handful of benefits, as well as detriments, of switching providers to a small energy company.
Con: No established track record
While it is easy to be won over by a deal that offers you everything you get from your large supplier, but for half the price point, the reality is a lot of smaller companies don’t have an established track record. For some people, it is too much of a risk to switch to a supplier that doesn’t have an established reputation, in favour of a more expensive supplier that has a proven track record.
Pro: Every supplier follows the same rules
It’s easy to stick with a certain energy company because you know them and it feels safer. However, it can give peace of mind to some to know that Ofgem regulates every energy supplier in the UK, so an independent company will follow the same rules as the “Big Six”. Even if a supplier goes out of business, Ofgem will see to it that you do not lose any money and there is no disruption to your gas/electricity service.
Con: Smaller suppliers are not held to the same standards
Although every supplier follows the same rules, smaller companies are not held to some of the regulations that the “Big Six” are required to uphold. For example, if you are currently eligible for the Warm Home Discount with your current supplier, you might no longer be when you switch to a smaller supplier. Although the bills will be cheaper, you need to assess whether or not you can manage without that subsidy.
Pro: Better customer service, for a better price
For the most part, choosing a smaller provider means opting for the best deals on the market. What’s more, smaller providers often come out on top for customer service too! Although the “Big Six” are improving their customer service and are rising through survey ranks, the top five performing companies for customer service have consistently been smaller providers.
Of course, there are lots of ways to reduce the cost of your energy bills, while staying with your current supplier. If your home is currently without insulation, now is the perfect time to contact a cavity wall insulation installer, to make sure the heat your boiler is generating doesn’t leak straight out of the home. If you take this action and still find that your energy bills are higher than they should be, it’s time to weigh up the pros and cons in this list and decide if it’s time to switch to a smaller energy provider.