Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) has laid a marker down to its competitors becoming the first supplier out of the so called ‘Big Six’ to offer a faster switching service in what could prove a watershed moment for disenfranchised energy customers everywhere.
SSE have introduced their simplified model for speedy switching enabling customers to switch in 17 days as opposed to 35, following on from accords struck with energy regulator, Ofgem, earlier this year.
Focussed on decongesting the system whilst improving reliability, the reformed switching service retains the previous 14 day cooling period with the switch being finalised 3 days after this period’s end. In this time, customers are afforded the ability to reconsider their initial decision and stay with their current supplier or annul their contract and move on, in accordance with overarching legislature.
Jane Bednall, director of domestic energy at SSE, said: ‘Customers constantly tell us that they find energy complicated and want us to make things easier and more transparent.
The service as far as SSE goes live today, with smaller supplier, First Utility, following suit on November 10th.
Ed Davey, lauded First Utility for taking initiative: “I wanted to make it faster and easier for people to switch so they can save money on their energy bills – First Utility’s ‘Fix the Switch’ campaign has helped make this a reality.
First Step on a Long Road for Simple Switching
Today’s development marks the first step in what Ofgem hope will be a mass overhaul of the switching process, amid criticism from consumer-orientated website, the Big Deal, only last month directed at certain price comparison websites over the transparency of their conduct.
In June, the energy regulator announced plans to supplant the dated IT systems, which were installed in the 1990s, with brand new technology, a move that could prove to have a profound impact on enhancing efficiency in itself given the sheer scale of progression in technological fields since then.
The end goal for this quest to boost nationwide energy efficiency levels is to have next day switching implemented by the end of 2018 at the very latest.
Dermot Nolan, Ofgem’s CEO, said back in June: “Consumers can change their bank in seven days, their mobile phone in just a couple, but have to wait significantly longer to switch their energy supplier. We know that consumers want a reliable and efficient switching process, and that concerns about it going wrong can put them off shopping around for a better deal. So now that we have taken steps to make the market simpler, clearer, fairer, we are leading a programme which will deliver faster, more reliable switching.
The need for change regarding switching is underlined by recent statistics from Ofgem showing 40% of UK households have never switched their supplier, whilst 7 in 10 stated they would if the process was made more straightforward.
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