Last edited: 9 September 2020
Switching energy suppliers has never been easier. In this guide you’ll answer the following questions:
How do I know if I should switch energy suppliers?
How do I switch energy suppliers?
Who do I contact after switching energy suppliers?
How long does switching take?
Will physical changes be required in my home when I switch supplier?
What if I change my mind about switching suppliers?
Whether it's due to unfair rates or poor customer service, millions of people switch their energy supplier every year. As with most household services, price plays a big role when it comes to deciding whether to switch or not. If you haven’t switched energy suppliers for a long time, it can help save on outgoings, and securing a deal on cheap energy can potentially save you hundreds of pounds a year.
First, you should use an online comparison tool to determine whether your monthly costs are competitively priced or could be easily beaten. It only takes a few minutes for an energy comparison site to pull the results from dozens of suppliers and show you the deals available to you.
Money isn’t the only reason to switch – if you’re frustrated because customer service at your existing provider is poor, research which providers offer good customer service, and be prepared to pay a bit more for your energy as a result. Use online review sites and forums to see what people say about the many different energy providers and make sure to check if any fines or warnings have been issued by Ofgem to any supplier you’re considering.
Switching energy providers is simple. Below is a brief step-by-step description of one way to switch your energy supplier:
Find your most recent energy bill or use an energy comparison and estimation tool to determine who your current provider is and how much you are charged per month. If you have your bill, you will be able to input your usage for an accurate quote. However, if you’re using an online estimator it will estimate your usage based on price, property size and region.
When you find a plan that meets your criteria, select the plan and you’ll be directed to a confirmation page where you will enter your personal information, direct debit details and meter readings so that your new supplier can create a new bill and allow your old provider to formulate a final bill.
If your old provider owes you money, they must pay back any credit within 10 working days of sending your final bill.
Once you’ve switched energy suppliers, you shouldn’t see any obvious difference in your daily energy usage, as most switches are carried out seamlessly.
Once you’ve confirmed your energy switch with your new energy provider, there’s no need to notify your old provider that you’ve decided to switch suppliers. Electricity and gas providers don’t need you to lead the process to complete a switch. The new provider will notify the previous company that you’ve decided to change.
Once you’ve switched energy suppliers, it’ll take about three weeks for the suppliers to communicate with one another and finalise the switch. In the meantime, you’ll continue to receive your energy from your existing provider and there will be no time that you’re left without power. Ultimately, even after switching, the gas and electricity you receive remains the same, it’s just that the supplier changes.
The simple answer is no. That’s because your new supplier and your previous supplier will have agreed on a switch-over date, so assuming that you’ve cancelled your Direct Debit to your old supplier, your billing periods won’t overlap and you won’t be charged twice.
Yes, you’ll need to take a meter reading and submit it to your new supplier when you confirm the switchover. This meter reading will be documented so your new provider is able to create a proper bill and is also shared with your old provider. Based on this reading, your old provider will send you a final bill. You’re required to pay any remaining balance if you’re in debit to your existing supplier, but if you have any remaining credit, you’ll be paid back within 10 days of the final bill.
You might think you need a new meter and home visits to be sure everything is in working order when you switch supplier, but none of these are necessary – unless of course, you request or are offered and accept a smart meter, or are switching from a prepayment meter to a standard one.
When making a gas switch, there’s no need for new gas pipes, a new meter, or any in-home visits. The new gas provider will use your original gas pipes and meter.
If you’re concerned about the safety and integrity of your gas pipeline and gas-using appliances, you should check the Gas Safe Register for a local technician who can do a routine maintenance check on your pipes.
If you change your mind after switching energy provider, you have two weeks to notify the new supplier and cancel the switch. Note that you must contact the new supplier directly in all circumstances, even if you’re using a third-party site to manage your energy providers.
All that’s left is for you now is to enjoy cheaper energy plans. If your new supplier offers smart meters you can request an installation. You should also download an energy management app if your energy supplier offers one, as it’ll help you keep on top of your usage. If possible, make sure you sign up to an online account so it’s easy to pay online, set up a direct debit and keep up to date with any changes.
Remember, even though you’ve just changed providers, you should keep a close eye on the energy market and continue to monitor the competition. Electricity and gas prices are ever-changing so the best supplier right now might not offer the same value once your fixed term ends. Today, switching energy suppliers is easier than ever, so take advantage and save on your energy bills.
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