Industry backs demand for 24-hour energy firm switch

 

The energy industry has today been challenged to follow the lead set by the telecoms and banking sectors and speed-up the switching process.

Independent provider First Utility called on the Big Six firms to give consumers a better deal by slashing the time it takes to switch suppliers from the current average five weeks to just one day. Its ‘Fix the Switch’ campaign launched this morning has already gained support from energy Watchdog Ofgem. Andrew Wright, Ofgem chief, said other suppliers should share the same ambition as First Utility.

“We are determined to speed up the switching process and we are working closely with suppliers to ensure that it happens,” he said. “Improvements have already been made to cut the time it takes to switch supplier to three weeks but ultimately the roll out of smart meters to homes and businesses will pave the way for a quicker switching process to be developed.”

Research suggests that the speed and complexity of switching is the main factor putting consumers off. But if just a third of the population switched to cheaper tariffs, it could save consumers around £1.5bn per year.

First Utility’s chief executive Ian McCaig believes the existing switching process limits competition. “The Energy industry needs to follow the example set by the telecoms and banking sectors. It takes just four hours to switch mobile phone providers and you can change banks in a week,” he said.

“It is less complicated to change energy provider, yet we are stuck with antiquated processes that suit no-one other than the incumbents. We need to slash the time it takes to change energy suppliers, not just by shaving a few days off the process, but by introducing same-day switching.”

Switching is relatively simple as no-one needs to visit a consumer’s house, the gas or electricity doesn’t change, and there is no risk to supply.

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, also welcomed the challenge but warned that stringent consumer protection needs to be kept. “It’s fantastic to see suppliers driving campaigns to make the switching process as smooth as possible and put the power back into consumers’ hands,” she said. “With the current account switching process now taking just one week, and Ofcom working on making it quicker and easier to switch broadband, the energy industry is in danger of being left behind.” However she warned of the importance of ensuring that no corners are cut that could harm consumers. “It’s important that people are still given a ‘cooling off’ period to give them time to change their mind,” she said. “If Ofgem can ensure that consumers enjoy this current level of protection as well as a quicker switch then we could see an extremely positive development in the energy industry.”

First Utility has set up an petition for supporters to the campaign at fightthepower.uk.com. “If we get 100,000 people to sign, this will get debated in parliament and the industry will have to take note,” said Mr McCaig.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

IT Project manager - Web E-commerce

£65000 Per Annum Benefits + bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: If you are...

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world