What to do when your energy tariff comes to an end

Is your energy tariff coming to an end?

Do you know what to do when your tariff end date comes around? This can be the perfect time to find cheap energy deals and reduce the amount you’re paying for your household energy. But if you don’t act quickly, you may be rolled onto a more expensive default energy plan and end up overpaying for your energy costs. Find out everything you need to know about what happens when your energy tariff comes to an end. 

How can I find out if my electricity tariff is ending? 

Of course, the first thing you need to do is work out when your tariff ends. There are a couple of different ways that you can find this information: 

  • Look at your most recent energy bill – The most effective way of checking when your energy tariff is ending is to check your most recent bill. Your tariff end date should be included in the section for your “key information” along with your account number and tariff name. If you have an online account, you should be able to find your tariff end date along with your key information. 

  • Contact your energy supplier – If you can’t find a recent bill or you’re not sure how to access your online account, you should get in touch with your energy supplier. Call up customer service and they should be able to tell you when your electricity and/or gas tariffs are coming to an end. Just make sure you have your account number with you, otherwise the supplier won’t be able to let you know when your tariff ends. 

  • Check your switching window letter – Last of all, you should receive a switching window letter from your supplier which lets you know that your energy tariff is coming to an end. The letter may be sent up to seven weeks before the end of your deal, so keep an eye out for any letters or communications sent by your energy provider. 

What happens at the end of a fixed rate energy tariff? 

If you’re on a fixed rate tariff, your energy provider will automatically roll you onto its more expensive standard variable rate tariff after your tariff end date. This means that you will immediately need to start paying more for your energy, because the variable tariffs are dependent on market rates. Energy suppliers rely on the inactivity of customers to charge you more for energy, so it’s vitally important to be vigilant when it comes to the end of your tariff and be ready to switch.

What happens at the end of a standard variable rate energy tariff? 

Technically there’s no such thing as an “end” for a standard variable rate energy tariff; there is no fixed term for these plans, so you can leave them at any time. This means that unless you decide to compare energy tariffs and switch to a cheaper option, you will remain on the standard variable rate energy tariff for an unlimited period. However, we recommend that, rather than stick with the standard variable plan, you compare tariffs to find cheap energy deals for your household and make the switch.

Can I switch my energy tariff before the plan’s end date? 

Yes, you can switch to a different energy tariff before the end of your plan. Your energy supplier is legally obligated to notify you about your plan’s end date 49 days before it ends. This grace period gives you plenty of time to compare energy tariffs and find a new plan. During the 49-day window, you are free to switch electricity tariffs without paying a cancellation or early exit fee. And although you’ll still need to wait around 3 weeks before you can switch – two weeks for cooling off and three days to make the switch – as soon as your supplier knows that you’re switching electricity tariffs, they won’t roll you onto the more expensive standard variable rate plan. 

It’s also important to remember that you can switch before the end of your energy tariff, if you would prefer to. While you’ll probably need to pay an early exit fee (these can run from £30 to £50), switching to a cheaper energy tariff could be worthwhile, offsetting the additional costs of your early exit fee. To find out whether your energy tariff includes an early exit or cancellation fee, either call your provider or check your most recent energy bill. 

How can I choose the best energy deals for me? 

So, you’ve come to the end of your energy tariff, and now you want to switch and find the best energy deals. How do you do that? Here’s a step by step guide: 

  1. Gather the information you need to compare energy tariffs – When it comes to comparing different energy plans, you’ll need a couple of key pieces of information to get started. The most important ones are your postcode, your current energy supplier, and your bank account details. You can probably find all this information on a recent bill. Once you’ve got this information, it’s time to compare energy tariffs. 

  2. Go to a price comparison site – Enter your details in a price comparison site and narrow down the plans to the ones that would best suit your household’s consumption. Then compare energy tariffs and decide which one is best for you. There are a couple of different factors to look out for, including timed use rates, green-friendly plans, and prepayment meter rates.

  3. Sign up for a new plan – After you’ve settled on a plan, just follow the instructions to get the ball rolling. You’ll need to enter your address and bank account details, and then the comparison site will do the rest of the work for you. 

Do I need to contact my energy supplier if I switch? 

No, the price comparison site will contact your energy supplier on your behalf, so once you’ve made the switch, there’s no need for you to do anything more. However, there are a couple of rare instances where you may need to contact your supplier. If you think you’re owed a refund, you want to switch to a different type of meter, or you have decided to switch before the end of your tariff, you may need to get in touch with your provider. 

What happens if I can’t find a cheaper energy deal? 

Although it’s unlikely, there is a chance that when you go to compare electricity and gas tariffs, there aren’t any better options than the plan you’re currently on. But whether you got a particularly good deal last time, or the price of energy has simply gone up, it’s important to remember that you can’t afford to do nothing. Otherwise, your energy provider will roll you onto the standard variable rate tariff, and the amount of money you end up paying for energy will increase considerably. Even the most expensive fixed rate energy tariffs are likely to be more expensive than standard variable rate tariffs, so you’ll need to switch your energy tariff to avoid paying more for your energy.  

Ultimately, the end of your electricity tariff is a time where it really pays to be proactive about finding the cheapest gas and electric supplier for your home. Otherwise, there’s a good chance that you’ll be rolled onto a more expensive standard variable rate energy tariff and end up paying more in monthly bills for your energy. 

Bjorn GriffithDec 9th 2019