Notifying your supplier of an energy switch

Last updated: 28 January 2021

In this guide you’ll get answers to the following questions:

  • Why would I want to switch energy provider?

  • How does switching supplier work?

  • Are there circumstances where I would need to contact my supplier?

  • Who should I contact when I change energy supplier?

  • What should I look for when comparing energy prices?

  • What happens after the switch?

Why would I want to switch energy provider?

There are plenty of reasons to consider changing your energy supplier. If you’re about to move home or are within the 49-day switching window at the end of a fixed-term plan, then it’s worth seeing what options are out there. And if you’re on your supplier’s standard variable plan, then we strongly recommend you perform an energy comparison, because it’s likely switching supplier or tariff will save you hundreds of pounds a year on your energy bills.

The process only takes a matter of minutes, provided you use a switching service regulated by Ofgem. First verify the comparison website has committed to Ofgem’s Confidence Code – this is a professional code of practice used to govern energy price comparison sites that, when followed, commits the site to displaying fair, unbiased results. Then, enter your personal details so that whether you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly plan or currently on a prepayment tariff, you’ll have additional options to choose from that suit your individual situation.

How does switching supplier work?

Once you’ve made the decision to switch energy providers, there’s no need to notify your current supplier just yet. First, gather the information you need so SaveOnEnergy can help you compare energy deals. If you have a recent energy bill handy, this will cover all your bases. It’ll supply the main information you’ll need: postcode, plus the name of your current gas and electricity supplier. You’ll be asked about your current plan and usage,  which should be on your bill too, but if you don’t have the specifics you can answer a series of basic lifestyle questions instead to get a reasonable estimate. Finally, it doesn’t hurt to have your bank details ready to sign up for Direct Debit. 

The final thing to check before you make the switch is whether your current tariff has a cancellation fee, common on fixed-term plans that still have 49 days or more to run. This is one instance where you might need to ring your current supplier if you can’t find the information on your utility bill.

Once you’ve gathered the relevant information, switching suppliers is a straightforward process. 

  1. Enter your details into our postcode entry box. This will show those energy tariffs and deals that are available within your postcode. 

  2. Plug in your energy usage details from your current plan (or answer the lifestyle questions) to narrow the plans down to those that suit your household consumption. 

  3. Compare energy prices, select a plan, and confirm your switch by setting up your new account. Enter your address and bank details for a smooth transition. 

Are there circumstances where I would need to contact my supplier?

In most cases, there’s no need to contact your old energy supplier before, during or after your switch, apart from sending over a final meter reading. However, there are a few exceptions where it might be better to get in touch. 

You’re switching before the end of a fixed-term contract 

If you’re currently on a fixed-rate plan, it’s possible you’ll be charged a cancellation fee. If you suspect this is the case, you might need to contact your current supplier to verify what the terms are. If you’re happy to switch supplier before the time is up and pay whatever exit fee is charged, there’s no need for any advance notification – it’ll simply be added on to your final bill.

You wish to switch to a different type of meter

From standard to prepayment meters, there are loads of different types to choose from. If you have a prepayment meter installed but wish to switch over to a smart or standard meter, contact your current supplier to make the switch. They may offer better deals to entice you to stay – but it’s always good to check on a comparison website first.

You believe that you’re owed a refund

When you switch electricity suppliers, they’ll estimate your consumption based on your historic usage to work out your new plan’s rates and monthly payments. However, many of us end up using less or more energy than these estimated figures, in which case it’s possible to build up credit or debt. It’s also natural to use less energy during the summer months. During this time, you build credit by paying for energy you’ve yet to use, which is then used to offset your bills in winter when your consumption increases.

So, what happens when you change energy suppliers with credit left in your account? This should be refunded to you. It’s important to take a final meter reading and submit it for a more accurate final bill, but unfortunately, it’s still quite common to be owed money by your former supplier. If something doesn’t look right with that former bill or you think you’re owed a refund, this is a great time to get in touch with your energy supplier. 

In most cases, there’s no need to notify your supplier as part of the change-over process. The energy comparison site you used will do this on your behalf, and most consumers experience a smooth, fuss-free transition to a new plan.

What should I look for when comparing energy prices?

When you compare energy prices, you’ll see a wide range of different tariffs and features. The choice can be overwhelming at first, but you can apply filters to refine the selection and make it easier. Here are a few of the main options: 

Fixed-rate deals

The cheapest prices for gas and electricity are usually part of fixed-rate energy deals. These lock in energy prices for a set period of usually one or two years. You’ll avoid changes in price due to fluctuations in global supply and demand, which means you’re better able to budget for your energy usage.

Flexible rates 

The downside of fixed-rate deals is that they usually charge a cancellation fee if you decide to leave the plan and switch energy providers before the contract has ended (but an increasing number don’t lock you in like this, so always check). If flexibility is important to you, a variable or standard rate might be a better choice. These usually cost more, but they offer greater freedom. 

Timed-use rates

As you compare energy prices, you might see Economy 7 or Economy 10 plans listed as well. These offer a multi-tiered pricing system. You’ll be charged less for energy used during certain hours of the evening, and a higher rate for usage during daylight hours.

Green energy plans

Are you always on the hunt for ways to reduce your impact on the environment? Green tariffs offer energy sourced from renewable supplies, including solar and wind power. They’ll usually be higher in price, but you’ll lower your carbon footprint in the process. 

Prepayment meter rates

Some people like having the security of paying for their energy in advance to avoid falling into debt. A pay-as-you-go plan with a prepayment meter would be a good option in this case. It’s also the best option if you have outstanding energy debt, as your debt can be paid off in small increments. 

Compare all these options to find a plan that is the best fit for your household, in terms of price as well as flexibility and other features.

Who should I contact when I change energy supplier?

If you use an accredited site like SaveOnEnergy to compare energy prices, there’s no need to contact your supplier at any point in the process. After you’ve compared deals and completed the switching request, the comparison site will contact the new supplier on your behalf. Your new supplier will then get in touch with your current supplier to arrange the switchover date for a smooth transition. 

One thing to remember is that you’ll need to provide meter readings to both your new and old provider on the switchover day, to make sure there are no discrepancies in your billing. 

What happens after the switch?

With the current and new supplier working together to arrange the switchover, you won’t experience any power outages. There’s also no need for engineers to visit to replace cables or pipes. When you switch electricity supplier the process should be seamless because the supply is distributed through the same channels. 

You’ll receive a welcome pack from your new energy supplier with all the relevant details about your choice of plan. You’ll have two weeks to change your mind without penalty, so you’re always free to continue hunting around for a better deal during this cooling-off period.

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Published on Wed 23 Oct 2019 03.30 GMT