Nearly five million households switched electricity supplier in a bid to cut their energy bills last year – a record high.

One million more people switched their electricity supply in 2016 than in 2015, according to industry body Energy UK, up by more than a quarter from 3.8 million to 4.8 million.

Switching was most popular in October, when just under 600,000 people decided to ditch their current tariff and try a new provider.

But millions more could save. Around 66% of people are still on standard tariffs and could be overpaying by up to £180/year based on typical use. For more on how to switch and to see how much you could save, check our Cheap Energy Club.

Where are people switching to?

Most people are still switching between the major suppliers in the hunt for savings, with just under two million moving from one large supplier to another. Though nearly as many moved away from larger suppliers to mid-sized and smaller providers – in 2016, there were about 1.7 million electricity switches from big suppliers to smaller rivals.

About 600,000 went the other way – from a smaller to larger company, while switching between small- and medium-sized suppliers was around half a million.

Can I switch?

All residents in the UK can switch – even if you rent your home. According to guidance from regulator Ofgem, if you pay your energy bill directly, you're entitled to change supplier even if your rental agreement bans switching. It takes just 5-10 minutes to do a comparison to find your cheapest – most suppliers will then switch you within 21 days.

Switch now, before prices rise

We've warned before that prices are rising. Over the last six months, the price of the cheapest tariff has shot up from £724/yr to £889/yr today – that's £165 more compared with May last year.

Standard prices could rise as well – in December, EDF announced a 1.2% hike on its standard tariff from March. Although other suppliers have announced price freezes, it's only until the end of March. With wholesale prices – what energy companies pay for gas and electricity – rising, more hikes could be on the way this year.