How to switch energy companies
Thinking of switching energy companies? If you’ve never changed your energy supplier, or not switched for two or more years, you’ll almost certainly save money on your gas and electricity bills.
It only takes five minutes to switch and you could save up to £200!
Will switching supplier mean my energy could be disconnected?
Can anyone switch?
Absolutely, most people can switch energy companies even if they have a prepayment gas or electricity meter with debts of up to £500.
And switching supplier easier than you might think. According to a survey by Which? nine out of 10 found the switching process straightforward.
What do I need?
- Your postcode
- An idea of how much you spend (or use in kilowatt hours – kWh) on gas and electricity
This information is easy to find – just dig out recent bills or an annual statement sent to you by your energy company. If you don’t have a recent energy bill to hand, you can still switch to a better deal by using estimated energy figures based on the size of your home and the number of occupants.
Will I be charged?
The first step is to check whether you could be charged for cancelling your current energy tariff. Cancellation fees are especially common when cancelling a fixed tariff early.
You can find out if your tariff has exit fees by checking your tariff documents, taking a look on your supplier’s website (if the tariff is still available) or by contacting your supplier.
How do I find the best deal for me?
By running a search on a price comparison website, you can compare prices from lots of suppliers at once. Take a look at the deals and pick a few favourites, then take a look at these tariffs more closely by visiting the supplier’s website. With price comparison websites reportedly hiding the best deals from customers, it’s best to see if there are other tariffs available on the supplier’s website.
By switching directly with the supplier rather than through a price comparison website, you may be able to receive a special discount. You also have more flexibility when it comes to choosing how you’d like to receive your bills and how you’d like your new supplier to communicate with you.
I’ve picked a tariff I like. Now what?
You’ll need to select your tariff and complete a short switch application, which includes filling out personal details such as your address, usage and how you’d like to pay.
What happens next?
Your new supplier will set up an account for you and tell your old supplier you’re switching. Your new supplier should also give you a switch date, which is when you can expect them to have finalised your supply.
You’ll then need to:
- Take a meter reading on your switch date
- Pay your final bill to your old supplier and cancel any Direct Debits
…And that’s it! You’re done.
How long does it take to switch?
The whole process should take around 3 weeks, including a two-week cooling-off period where you can cancel the switch if you change your mind.
The time it takes to switch energy supplier used to take five weeks but is now faster than ever thanks to initiatives like First Utility’s Fix the Switch campaign, which called on government, Ofgem and the public to reduce the switching time. It’s hoped that a 24-hour switching target will be achieved by the end of the year.
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