Over 400,000 households ditch the Big Six to save on their energy bills – but what are the best alternatives?

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With the UK plunging into recession, saving money is high on everyone’s agenda at the moment. Due to a spike in energy bills caused by many people working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic, switching energy provider is one way that money-savvy Brits have looked to save.

The latest figures from trade body Energy UK show that after months of stagnation during lockdown, the energy market is now resurgent once more, with 965,000 households doing an energy comparison and switching supplier in June and July.

The most popular move made by switchers was to leave one of the Big Six energy suppliers and sign up with a challenger brand. Moves like this accounted for 40 per cent of all switches during the period. Comparatively, 25 per cent of switchers made a similar move last year.

Back in 2013, the Big Six energy companies of British Gas, EDF, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE dominated the UK’s domestic energy market with a 98 per cent market share. However, it’s now estimated that these companies have lost more than five million customers and, by the end of 2019, their market share had dipped below 70 per cent.

Why are homes switching away from the Big Six?

Although the Bix Six are household names that come with a good reputation for reliability, over the years challenger brands have shown that they can demonstrate the same levels of service at a lower cost. In addition, suppliers like Bulb Energy and Octopus Energy have positioned themselves as green alternatives, too.

As our reviews of both Octopus Energy and Bulb Energy show, these challenger brands have now established themselves as some of the best energy suppliers on the market, scoring highly in terms of price, customer service and tariff choice. In fact, Octopus Energy won the coveted title of ‘Uswitch Supplier of the Year’ in 2020.

How do I find the best energy deal?

If you’ve been supplied by one of the Big Six brands for several years, then it’s likely that your fixed-term deal has come to an end. As a result, you'll be on a default tariff. This means that you’ll be paying far more for your energy than if you were to switch supplier. In fact, Bulb Energy believes that the ‘loyalty penalty’ for customers who stick with their energy supplier is around £250 a year on average.

As a result, the best way for you to find a cheaper tariff is to run an online energy comparison to find the best energy deal possible. All you’ll need to do is provide some basic information about your household and your energy use. It only takes a couple of minutes and you’ll receive a list of the best tariffs in your area and a detailed breakdown of how much money you could save by switching.

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Tom Brook

Tom is a freelance copywriter and content marketer with over a decade of experience. Originally from an agency background, he is proud to have worked on campaigns for a number of energy providers, comparison sites and consumer brands.