Ofgem’s annual survey of small and micro-business customer engagement in the energy market has revealed that the number of switches fell in 2016.

The research, published on 7 April, found that fewer businesses switched energy supplier in 2016, with the switching level falling to 21% of those surveyed, down from 25% in 2015. Over four in 10 (44%) businesses were active in other ways, including more than a quarter (26%) that switched tariff with their existing supplier and 7% that had tried to switch supplier but been unable to.

The most common reason for switching was cheaper prices, with over half (52%) switching in response to price increases from their supplier, while a clear majority (85%) reported switching due to being offered, or discovering, a cheaper deal from another supplier. Just under three-quarters (73%) said that knowing their contract was coming to an end prompted them to switch.

It was also revealed that nearly a fifth (19%) had taken no action in the previous 12 months and had not switched supplier in the previous five years. Reasons for not switching included businesses being “broadly satisfied” with their existing supplier (82%) and barriers to switching, such as being tied to the current contract (53%) and avoiding exit fees (32%).

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