Is it a Good Idea To Switch To a Small Energy Supplier?

  • You can switch to a better energy deal using Money Pug’s handy comparison site. But should you go for a deal from one of the six biggest energy suppliers, who provide energy plans for most UK households? Or should you opt for a deal from a small energy supplier? We’ve put together this guide to help you in considering a small energy supplier. It should help you to decide whether going with one of these smaller companies a good idea for you.
  • Six big energy suppliers dominate the UK energy market. But fortunately, new regulation and new entrants into the market mean that there are now a huge range of smaller suppliers to choose from. These smaller suppliers shake up the market and increase the competition. That is good news for consumers, because greater competition in the market can help to drive down energy bills and improve service in a range of different ways. 

What Do We Mean By ‘Small Energy Supplier’?

The term ‘small energy supplier’ or sometimes, ‘independent energy supplier’ is generally applied to any energy company in the UK that is not one of the big six. These small suppliers usually have fewer than 250,000 customers, though some, like OVO Energy and Shell Energy (previously known as First Utility) are more established and have more customers. 

The Benefits of Choosing a Small Energy Supplier

  • Small suppliers are often able to offer cheaper energy deals. There are a number of reasons why they may be more able than larger companies to keep costs down. For example:
  • You may find that there are also other, non-financial benefits to going with a small supplier. For example:

The Down Sides to Choosing a Small Energy Supplier

  • While there are plenty of great small energy suppliers out there to which you can switch with Money Pug, not all energy suppliers were created equal. Some are far more established and credible than others and it can be difficult to find much information about new entrants to the field. 
  • Some new small energy suppliers may not initially have the capacity to deal with new customers flooding to them to take advantage of their cheap deals. In the past, this has led to a negative switching experience for some consumers. It has sometimes taken far longer than it should do to get things sorted. 
  • One other thing to consider is that a small company may only have a limited customer service capability. There may be fewer people to deal with issues and enquiries as they arise. That said, many small energy suppliers do have great customer service. 

How Can You Find Out More About a Small Energy Supplier?

The key thing when you are considering choosing a small energy supplier is to do your research. The more information you can find about the track record of a company, the more secure you can feel in your choice and the less likely you are to encounter any problems. 

You can find information online by searching for the name of the supplier. You should be able to find evidence of any problems that have arisen with that supplier in the past, or when they started trading if they have not been doing so for long. 

It is a good idea to visit sites like Trustpilot to read reviews that have been left by a suppliers actual customers. This sort of feedback will give you a very good idea of whether or not they are likely to be an energy supplier that you can trust. 

What If The Supplier Can No Longer Supply My Energy?

Most small energy companies operate with no issues at all. However, there have been a few companies that have stopped trading in recent years. The concern that a company may go under is one of the reasons that people give for choosing not to go with a small energy supplier.

However, it is important to note that there are rules in place to protect you and your household against any energy supplier going bust. Ofgem has enforced a number of regulations that mean that, in the unlikely event that there is a problem, you will be switched to a new supplier. 

How To Choose a Small Energy Supplier

So, you are considering moving away from the big six and selecting a deal from a small energy supplier. But how should you choose which one to go for? Well, the first step is of course visiting Money Pug and comparing the costs of the various options on offer for you. Often, the choice you make will simply be based on which deal can save you the most money.

But it is also a good idea to think about the fact that money is not the only variable to consider. As well as looking for the cheapest deal, you might also want to think about how a small energy supplier might be better placed to fulfil your ethical requirements. You might want to go for an energy supplier with ethics that more closely match your own, or choose a better, greener energy deal for your household. 

Whatever criteria you use to determine which small energy company to go for, one fact remains the same. These companies have given us more choice – and when it comes to energy – having choice, and the freedom to switch, is always a very good thing. 

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