Ofgem will be launching a trial of a simplified collective switch. Organisers of collective switches negotiate a good deal with suppliers on behalf of large numbers of ordinary consumers.
The trial from Ofgem will see around 50,000 ‘disengaged customers’ of one of the nation’s big energy suppliers offered a better deal which has been negotiated by an appointed consumer partner.
What makes this trial different from other collective switches is that customers won’t need to enter their existing tariff details in order for their personal savings from switching to be calculated, which the regulator argues will make it easier to take part.
If the trial is a success, Ofgem said it may roll out further collective switches for more customers.
Alongside the collective switch, Ofgem is launching a separate trial where more than 250,000 households on expensive deals will receive up to two letters or emails from their supplier informing them of three cheaper deals which are available, even if they come from rival suppliers.
Ofgem conducted a similar, smaller trial last year which resulted in a trebling of the number of people switching.
According to the regulator’s latest figures, overall domestic switching rates are at a record high. Last year 18% of electricity and 19% of gas customers switched supplier, the highest switching rates since 2009 and 2008 respectively.
Despite this, around 57% of households are on standard variable tariffs which are the most expensive.
Rob Salter-Church, interim senior partner for consumers and competition at Ofgem, said: “Ofgem is committed to getting all consumers a better energy deal.
“In the long term, we believe that competition, combined with protection for those who need it, is the best way to deliver the best energy deal for all consumers.”