Ahead of a House of Commons debate into the energy market, new data released by First Utility shows that millions of UK households have lost almost £800 each in the last three years by being stuck on a Big Six Standard Variable Tariff.

First Utility says that the overspend on energy is because 85% of energy customers are with the Big Six, and of those, 70% are on the most expensive standard variable tariff.  

With at least 55% of all Big Six SVT customers having not changed tariff in at least three years, it means that £7bn has been wasted UK-wide through higher energy bills – enough to fund 9 million families’ grocery shopping for more than three months.

Thursday’s Parliamentary debate, supported by 50 MPs across all parties, will consider solutions to help these disaffected customers and address the fact that MPs ‘deplore the Big Six energy firms’ treatment of out-of-contract energy customers on default tariffs’.  

First Utility has long called for further Government intervention to help all those who are not benefiting from greater competition. It has proposed forcing two immediate remedies:

  1. Ensure  Warm Home Discount (WHD) customers are automatically moved onto the cheapest deals
  2. Undertake a whole market reset and move all customers that have been on their supplier’s SVT for three years or more to their cheapest tariff

UK unaware of savings as Big Six keeps customers in the dark

Many customers are unaware they could save, in part thanks to the Big Six energy suppliers doing their best to keep their most loyal customers in the dark about savings and alternative tariffs. Many only receive a bill as little as once a quarter or even once a year.

In contrast, First Utility bills its customers every month, which includes details of cheaper tariffs, as part of its commitment to putting customers in the know about their energy spend.


Ed Kamm, UK MD of First Utility said “The Big Six have been exploiting customers’ loyalty for too long and it has to end. The brutal truth, hidden away in the CMA report, proves that the Big Six have been relying on their SVT customers for years to bolster their profits. We have to see real change in 2017, with the onus on helping those who have been kept on bad deals for years and years.”

First Utility’s latest ‘energy overspend’ map highlights the savings possible by switching from the Standard Variable Tariff. It breaks down the figures by region, county and top 100 towns and cities across the UK.

 

Regional league table of potential savings

RANK

Energy region

Household 3 yr saving compared to Big Six SVT average

Total 3 yr

overspend by

region

1

THE EAST

£805

£885,351,278

2

SOUTH

£807

£725,299,382

3

EAST MIDLANDS

£789

£630,081,783

4

WEST MIDLANDS

£809

£598,192,045

5

NORTH WEST

£809

£576,126,623

6

LONDON

£837

£559,023,358

7

YORKSHIRE & HUMBER

£803

£554,174,750

8

SOUTH EAST

£763

£523,021,844

9

SOUTH SCOTLAND

£756

£477,677,635

10

NORTH EAST

£783

£379,035,482

11

NORTH WALES & MERSEYSIDE

£776

£357,908,960

12

SOUTH WEST

£721

£335,176,537

13

SOUTH WALES

£766

£260,552,894

14

NORTH SCOTLAND

£775

£173,709,089

Top 100 towns league table of potential savings

RANK

City/town

Total 3 yr overspend

RANK

City/town

Total 3 yr overspend

1

London

£ 1,033,454,520

51

Reading

£ 17,886,927

2

Manchester

£ 293,677,739

52

Telford

£ 17,837,585

3

Birmingham

£ 126,704,394

53

Oxford

£ 17,255,083

4

Gloucester

£ 98,774,189

54

Blackburn

£ 16,985,975

5

Leeds

£ 85,815,439

55

Canterbury

£ 16,411,934

6

Glasgow

£ 64,439,671

56

Blackpool

£ 16,361,305

7

Sheffield

£ 63,011,256

57

Dundee

£ 16,341,113

8

Bradford

£ 60,311,182

58

Preston

£ 16,273,202

9

Stoke-on-Trent

£ 53,973,080

59

Norwich

£ 16,187,906

10

Edinburgh

£ 53,305,338

60

Isle of Wight

£ 16,140,740

11

Liverpool

£ 51,396,300

61

Slough

£ 16,106,276

12

Bristol

£ 43,934,193

62

Newport

£ 16,099,380

13

Wakefield

£ 37,203,819

63

Lancaster

£ 15,896,619

14

Cardiff

£ 37,144,037

64

Stockport

£ 15,672,141

15

Leicester

£ 37,039,198

65

Middlesbrough

£ 15,410,843

16

Wigan

£ 36,600,308

66

Ipswich

£ 15,281,016

17

Dudley

£ 36,011,783

67

Bolton

£ 14,757,479

18

Nottingham

£ 35,804,184

68

Lincoln

£ 14,618,077

19

Coventry

£ 35,579,636

69

Guildford

£ 14,447,278

20

The Wirral

£ 35,348,890

70

Cambridge

£ 14,194,491

21

Doncaster

£ 34,531,721

71

Colchester

£ 13,960,665

22

Newcastle

£ 31,200,277

72

High Wycombe

£ 13,815,095

23

Walsall

£ 30,994,012

73

Cheltenham

£ 13,268,862

24

Sunderland

£ 30,654,662

74

Exeter

£ 13,064,291

25

Medway

£ 29,742,831

75

Basingstoke

£ 12,333,019

26

Brighton & Hove

£ 29,676,076

76

Maidstone

£ 12,280,403

27

Kingston-Upon-Hull

£ 29,575,780

77

Crawley

£ 12,037,589

28

Rotherham

£ 29,379,369

78

Darlington

£ 11,803,103

29

Wolverhampton

£ 28,709,305

79

Chesterfield

£ 11,654,043

30

Derby

£ 27,928,386

80

Carlisle

£ 11,601,307

31

Southampton

£ 27,215,241

81

Worcester

£ 11,508,119

32

Swansea

£ 26,360,284

82

Mansfield

£ 11,182,492

33

Plymouth

£ 26,346,148

83

Great Yarmouth

£ 11,144,451

34

Oldham

£ 25,900,879

84

Barnsley

£ 10,425,405

35

Milton Keynes

£ 25,816,400

85

Hartlepool

£ 10,247,320

36

Aberdeen

£ 24,564,373

86

Grimsby

£ 10,076,662

37

Rochdale

£ 24,380,896

87

Stirling

£ 9,668,695

38

Swindon

£ 24,027,990

88

Kettering

£ 9,402,297

39

Northampton

£ 23,813,319

89

Bath

£ 9,119,244

40

Solihull

£ 23,787,283

90

Peterborough

£ 9,015,965

41

Portsmouth

£ 23,596,498

91

Inverness

£ 8,710,262

42

Luton

£ 23,279,537

92

Burnley

£ 8,388,705

43

York

£ 22,615,880

93

Shrewsbury

£ 8,253,048

44

Aylesbury (Vale)

£ 21,618,244

94

Stafford

£ 7,879,840

45

Stockton-On-Tees

£ 21,334,665

95

Scarborough

£ 6,875,753

46

Gateshead

£ 21,290,125

96

Wrexham

£ 6,798,725

47

Bournemouth

£ 21,079,577

97

Taunton

£ 6,631,795

48

Southend-On-Sea

£ 20,472,603

98

St Albans

£ 6,621,232

49

Chelmsford

£ 19,282,282

99

Warwick

£ 3,519,229

50

Bedford

£ 19,046,509

100

Truro

£ 1,925,880

About the figures:  March 2017: 85% of 27m homes in the UK are served by one of the Big Six energy providers (Source: Cornwall Insights). 70% of UK households served by the Big Six are on a Standard Variable Tariff (Source: CMA) and each is overpaying by average of £262 a year over the past three years at national average (Source: EHL data analysed by First Utility). The figure of £262 is the average difference over the past three years (2014-2016) between the average annual Big Six dual fuel SVT for typical usage and the cheapest widely available dual fuel tariff. Therefore the typical overspend (assuming a customer picked the cheapest tariff) is £786 over the past three years.

First Utility has used data from the Office of National Statistics to understand the number of households in each region, county and town and then applied national average data to these numbers to apportion the overspend by area.

First Utility has assumed:

  • Ofgem’s medium usage figure of 3,100 kwh gas and 12,500 kwh electricity is a representative average consumption for the UK as a whole.
  • 85% of all households are supplied by the Big Six according to recent data from Cornwall Insights.
  • 70% of these households are on the standard variable tariff according to data from the CMA.