New CER research shows only 40% of people are aware of better offers in the energy market

This is despite the fact that customers can make significant savings by switching...

Maeve McLaughlin
by Maeve McLaughlin on 5th October, 2016

Each year, the CER releases research on attitudes and experiences in the electricity and gas markets in Ireland.

The research covers topics such as the awareness of competition, switching rates, and factors that impact customers’ likelihood to switch.

Switching in the electricity and gas market

Of all those surveyed, 60% of electricity and 57% of gas customers automatically continue on with their supplier when the initial 12 month contract has expired.

In addition to this, only 12% of electricity customers and 16% of gas customers switched supplier in the last 12 months. The rate of switching amongst dual fuel customers was 20%, down from 22% in 2015.

When you consider that the average dual fuel customer can save up to €358 by switching from standard tariffs to the cheapest deals on the market, it’s surprising that more people are not taking advantage of the competitive market. Especially when you take into account that after the initial contract period, customers normally go on to much higher unit rates.

Amongst those who did not switch supplier, satisfaction with the service received and trust of the current supplier remain the top reasons not to switch, while a significant 31% of electricity customers said that they didn’t think the level of savings was sufficient to make switching worthwhile.

Would renewal notices help?

Something we’ve previously noted at Switcher is that renewal notices do appear to drive switching in the insurance market - and could be a useful tool in the energy and broadband market, too.

And in this bout of research, the CER has asked consumers if they were would be interested in receiving a reminder prior to their minimum contract term (and discount period) ending.

Around half of all electricity customers (49% ) and gas customers (53%) stated they would be interested and, of these people, over three quarters said they would like this notification to contain an estimate of the savings available if they changed supplier.

Comparing the market

Over one third of customers surveyed stated that they were not aware of alternative offers available to them in the energy market.

While 41% of domestic electricity customers and 42% of gas customers said they were aware of offers - such as unit price discounts for fixed term contracts - 20% of these found comparison of offers difficult or very difficult.

And only 12% of electricity customers and 5% of gas customers were able to even provide an estimate of the unit cost of the electricity or gas they consume.

It’s easy if you use a price comparison website

Clearly, consumers can benefit from having a straightforward way to find out more about potential savings they could make by switching supplier.

1 in 10 people surveyed said they’ve used a price comparison website to compare offers, with the majority of electricity (54%) and gas (61%) customers who have done so saying they found comparing offers easy.

If you use Switcher’s free energy comparison tool, you will be able to clearly see the estimated annual cost of each plan, based on your own usage - or national averages if you don’t have your usage information to hand.

Comparing deals and making a switch only takes around 5 minutes so it’s well worth it, considering the potential savings.

Save up to €358. Compare deals now