LONDON, March 26 (Reuters) - Britain's small energy suppliers have benefited from consumers' dissatisfaction with gas and electricity prices. About half a million customers have opened accounts with independent providers in recent months, mostly leaving the established "Big Six" suppliers in protest against steep tariff increases.
Below is a breakdown of the most recent customer account figures provided by Britain's biggest energy suppliers.
Most energy suppliers report accounts set up, rather than outright customers. So when customers buy both electricity and gas under a dual fuel deal, this is recorded as one account. However, if they then switch to separate new electricity and gas providers, they are counted twice. Also, some new accounts are created without any switching, such as for newly constructed homes. Losses and gains in companies' customer accounts therefore do not necessarily match switching figures.
NAME Customer End 2012 Change accounts end 2013 Big Six Centrica 15,256,000 15,618,000 -362,000 SSE 9,220,000* 9,470,000* -250,000 Scottish Power 5,790,000 5,690,000 +100,000 RWE npower 5,504,741 5,627,654 -122,913 EDF Energy 5,710,000** 5,450,000** +260,000 E.ON n/a n/a n/a Independent suppliers Utility Warehouse 836,097*** 712,591*** +123,506 First Utility 370,000^ 170,000 +200,000 Ovo Energy 250,000^ 138,046 +111,954 Co-op Energy 142,000 60,000 +82,000 Good Energy 40,000 34,000^^ +6,000 * SSE accounts compare the average for the nine months to December 2013 with the nine months to December 2012 ** EDF Energy accounts compare the average for the fourth quarter of 2013 with the fourth quarter of 2012 *** Utility Warehouse accounts compare the average for the third quarter of its 2014 financial year (October-December 2013) with the third quarter of the 2013 financial year (October-December 2012) ^ First Utility and Ovo Energy figures stretch to March 2014 ^^ Good Energy accounts compare figures at the end of 2013 with figures at the end of June 2013 (Reporting by Karolin Schaps; editing by David Stamp)