Switching energy suppliers may seem like a daunting prospect when in reality, it is now easier than ever. As we’ll explain, switching energy providers requires only a few short steps to set you on your way to a cheaper energy bill.
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.
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 results from dozens of suppliers and show you the deals available to you.
If the customer service at your existing provider is poor, you should also research which providers offer the best customer service – if you place particular value on this then it may be worth going for a pricier plan. 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 are using an online estimator it will estimate your usage based on price, property size and region.
Use an online comparison tool to find the best possible rates. The comparison tool will compare many different suppliers and plans that are available in your region.
When you find a plan that fits you, select the plan and you will 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 is no need to notify your old provider that you have 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 decided to change.
Once you’ve switched energy suppliers, it will take about three weeks for the suppliers to communicate with one another and finalise the switch. In the meantime, you will continue to receive your energy from your existing provider and there will be no time that you are without power. In essence, the gas and electricity that you’re provided with remains the same, it’s just that the supplier changes.
This is a common question that many people have, but fortunately, there’s a simple answer: no, you will not be billed twice. This is because your new supplier and your previous supplier will have agreed on a switch-over date, so assuming that you have cancelled your Direct Debit, your billing periods will not overlap and you will not be charged twice.
Yes, you will 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 are required to pay any remaining balance, if you have credit with your old provider, you will be paid back within 10 days of the final bill.
When changing suppliers, you might think you need a new meter and home visits to be sure everything is in working order, but none of these are necessary - unless of course, you request or are offered and accept a smart meter.
When making a gas switch, there is 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 are 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 near you who can do a routine maintenance check on your pipes.
If you changed your mind after switching energy planner, you have two weeks to notify the new supplier and have the switch cancelled. If you decide to change back, you must contact your new supplier directly instead of a third-party site you may be using to manage your energy providers.
All that is left is for you 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 have just changed providers, you should still be aware and 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.