Collective switching costs British Gas 650,000 customers in four months

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Britain’s largest energy company lost 823,000 customers between the end of June and the end of October, with almost four fifths leaving on collective switching deals.

Collective energy switches are increasingly popular for household energy buyers, enabling them to save hundreds of pounds on their annual bills.

Collective energy buying schemes can also be accessed by businesses. Utility Helpline launched its first business energy collective earlier this month to help small and medium sized businesses save money.

Find out more about Utility Helpline’s Business Energy Collective

British Gas suffers from collective switches

Centrica, British Gas’ parent company, suffered its worst one-day loss as shares fell by 17% on Wednesday. The slump came after the company revealed difficult trading conditions in the UK and US.

British Gas lost 823,000 household customers between June 30 and October 30 – that represents about 6% of their overall accounts.

Some 650,000 of those customers who left did so on collective switching deals, which give ordinary buyers access to cheaper energy tariffs.

In September, British Gas raised its electricity prices by 12.5%, adding £76 to the typical standard tariff bill – prompting many customers to search elsewhere for better deals.

British Gas van

Collective switching for household and business energy buyers

Collective energy switching can save consumers and businesses money on their energy supply.

Collective energy purchasing schemes rose to popularity in 2012, when schemes were endorsed by the government as a good way of saving money.

Many of the customers who switched away from British Gas used domestic local or national collective switching schemes, but there are relatively few for small and medium sized businesses.

What is collective energy switching?

Collective energy switching schemes enable businesses to pool their buying power to negotiate more favourable tariffs.

They are usually organised by a third party, who collects basic information from potential switchers and negotiates a bulk deal on their behalf. Once the intermediary has negotiated a rate, they take this offer back to the switchers and it is up to them whether they choose to accept or reject the offer.

The third party could be a local authority, a newspaper or a private energy broker like Utility Helpline.

Utility Helpline runs a collective energy buying group for small and medium-sized businesses. As well as cheaper tariffs, collective energy switchers also benefit from excellent support and advice from our team of energy experts.

Find out more about Utility Helpline’s collective purchasing scheme for businesses