Energy regulator Ofgem has announced plans to trial a collective switch “in the coming weeks”, aimed at consumers on the worst deals who have not switched for more than three years.
Organisers of collective switches help large groups of consumers to save money by negotiating a good deal with a supplier on their behalf.
In Ofgem’s trial, around 50,000 disengaged customers of one of the Big Six energy providers (Ofgem won’t name the firm) will be offered a better deal, which an as of yet unnamed “consumer partner” will organise and negotiate.
Unlike other collective switches, these customers will not need to enter their existing tariff details for their personal savings from switching to be calculated, which Ofgem says will make it easier to take part.
However, the trial is not compulsory, meaning those contacted to take part aren’t obliged to do so.
Depending on the outcome of the trial, Ofgem says it could roll out simplified collective switches for more customers.
Ofgem is also launching a new trial involving over 250,000 customers on expensive deals who will receive up to two letters or emails from their supplier telling them about three available cheaper deals, including from rivals. It is hoped this will encourage consumers to switch.
In separate news, the regulator has today given the go ahead to a programme which will allow people to switch by the end of the next working day and reduce the number of switches which go wrong.
Currently, it takes between two and three weeks to switch.
Ofgem says it aims to get the new one-day switching scheme in place by 2020.
Rob Salter-Church, interim senior partner for consumers and competition, comments: “Ofgem is committed to getting all consumers a better energy deal.
“We will protect consumers who don’t switch from being charged too much while we put in place the building blocks for a more competitive market.”
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