RECORD numbers are switching to new electricity suppliers in the wake of an energy price cap “con”.

Figures from Energy UK, the industry trade association, reveals that over 660,000 (668,371) customers moved to a new supplier last month, up by 34% on April 2018 and the highest number ever recorded.

It comes three months after it emerged more than one million households north of the Border faced an average £110-a-year rise in their bills after Ofgem increased the cap for those with typical energy usage on a default - or variable - tariff.

The cap was championed as a move to protect 11 million British households from rip-off gas and electricity tariffs. The Prime Minister said it would save consumers £1 billion on their bills annually.

Source: Parliament TV

But the energy watchdog decided to increase the typical price cap for UK default and standard variable gas and electricity tariffs by £117 to £1,254 a year from April 1.

Perth-based SSE, Glasgow-based Scottish Power and Scottish Gas are among the "big six" energy companies who said in February they would raise the standard variable energy tariff from April to meet the higher price cap.

Consumers were encouraged to switch suppliers to find the best deal and Britain's leading consumer organisation Which? warned that the cheapest deals had been vanishing from the market fearing it is to make up for a loss in revenue.

Rik Smith, energy expert at uSwitch said that the price cap was "a con" because of the suggestion is that households are protected now the cap is in place.

READ MORE: Energy price cap branded "con" as Scots energy bills set to rise by up to £184 a year

Energy UK figures reveal the total number of electricity switches is now over two million (2,119,516) so far in 2019, up 18% on this point last year.

And 2018 itself saw record numbers of people switching suppliers with 5,878,914 making a move, nearly double the numbers who made the move in 2014.

And Energy UK said confidence in switching is high with research revealing 8 in 10 consumers happy with the switching process.

Lawrence Slade, Energy UK’s chief executive, said: “It is very positive to see that record numbers of customers continue to move to a new supplier in search of a better deal, and we must remember Ofgem’s figures also show many more each month move to a better deal with their current supplier.

HeraldScotland:

“So, I would encourage everyone to get in touch with their supplier, or have a look online, to see if there is a better deal for them, whether that is on price or the type of tariff you are looking for.

“And, at a time when we are facing a climate challenge on a global scale, it is important for all of us to look at our energy use and ensure our homes are energy efficient. This is the best way to keep your energy bill down while also reducing your carbon footprint so you can help save money and the planet.”

Commenting on Energy UK’s April switching report, Peter Earl, head of energy at comparethemarket.com, said:“Over half a million switches in April is an undeniable sign that people are not prepared to stand for the hefty increase to their annual energy bill that successive supplier price hikes have delivered.

READ MORE: Video: The £1 billion cost of the great 'price cap' energy bill hike

"Energy providers have long relied on customer inertia so it is encouraging that, despite the energy price cap failing to protect many customers from rising costs, not all households have rested on their laurels. More often than not it pays to shop around for a more competitively priced fixed rate tariff. For the many millions of households still languishing on standard variable and default tariffs, now is certainly the time to take a look around to find a better deal.”

HeraldScotland:

Official figures show that in 2017, before the cap came in, one in four households across Scotland were estimated to be in fuel poverty, by spending more than 10% of their income on household fuel to maintain satisfactory heating.

The Scottish Government has a proposed new statutory target for fuel poverty that in 2040, no more than 5% of households in Scotland are in fuel poverty.