A UK-record 135,000 people switched energy in the MSE collective switch 4

The MSE collective switch 4 closed last Thursday, and we’ve been blown away, bowled over and victim of at least four other clichés by its success.

The first three collective switches had seen 67,000, 72,000 and 86,000 people change their energy supplier – and each of those was in turn the UK’s biggest ever. Yet this is in a different league.

The stats:

  • MSE collective switch started: 2 February
  • MSE collective switch lasted: 16 days
  • Total number of collective switches: 135,000
  • Total number of switches via Cheap Energy Club during the period: 155,000
    (usually the collectives are the cheapest, but for some they’re not. We show a full market comparison, so some do choose others)
  • Likely total savings on energy bills: c. £60m
    (based on typical usage, we don’t have exact figure yet)
  • Total cashback to be paid out: £4m
    (we get paid £60 per dual fuel switch and give half back in cashback, the rest goes to cover suppliers, pay costs and hopefully make us some profit)
  • Likely percentage of first-time switchers: 60%
    (based on previous collectives as we don’t have the data yet – collectives encourage first timers to switch far more than normal)
  • For comparison, in a typical 16-day period across the whole UK, there are 250,000 switches

Did you miss it? If you did there are still huge savings available by switching tariff, typically £300 per home. It only takes five minutes – just use our Cheap Energy Club.

What was so good about this collective?

Our lead deal was from British Gas. While much is made of new entrants to the market, and indeed that’s something I support, many people just want to stick with a brand they know. And to get that at a price that undercuts every other supplier on the market seemed to be a winning combination.

Indeed anecdotally we heard from many people who have elderly parents who have always refused to switch.

So the ability to simply switch their tariff not their firm – so a switch from British Gas to a cheaper British Gas tariff and save typically £300 a year, plus £30 cashback – made it an easy bit of persuasion.

Here’s just a selection of tweets we received.

And even one man on BBC One’s Question Time commented on it. Here’s Nick Rendel’s question submitted to the programme…

“My 87-year-old mother pays 50% more than me for electricity. Why has Ofgem been so hopeless at protecting the vulnerable?”

And what he said:

“Actually she’s not anymore. I changed it at the weekend. I only discovered it at the weekend and we’ve sorted it out.

“I am concerned about people who don’t have internet access and can’t access the sainted Martin Lewis’s website to get the best prices on the market, which are incredibly lower than the standard rate price that 70% of the population are paying.”

Before I buff my halo, I think there were other factors at play here too.

  • The timing was strong. Energy was in the news with the big six all announcing price cuts during the collective – of course the savings from these are trivial in comparison with the savings from switching in the collective.
  • The fact that due to a rule change you had to be pre-registered to get this collective, so we had to pre-announce that the collective was coming, helped too. Also, the fact numbers were capped (albeit at a high level) seems to have made people engage more quickly.
  • Of course the fact that we do all the checks, ensure boosted customer service, and make sure we follow up if anyone is having problems helps too (huge thanks to MSE Archna, Dan, Rose, Roxanne and the rest of the energy team, who’ve worked very hard arranging this and answering over 5,000 queries).

And of course, as successful as this one is, we hope to do more in future – as long as the deals are good enough. Don’t let that put you off switching now though, if you haven’t.