Everyone knows that you should change energy company on a regular basis, but do you know when to switch energy supplier? Understanding the best time to switch energy provider can equip you with excellent savings and ensure that you’re always on the right energy deal for your circumstances. Check out our comprehensive guide to switching your energy deal.
You should switch your energy deal once every 12-18 months. This is because after your energy deal comes to an end, you’ll be automatically placed on an expensive standard variable tariff, which tends to offer the worst value for money. So, as soon as you’re eligible to change power supplier, you should make the switch.
Timing is important when it comes to changing your energy plan. The best time to switch energy provider is just before the colder weather starts, around October or September. When the days get shorter and the temperature drops, you’ll be using more gas and electricity to heat and light your home. This means that you’ll be spending more money, making the months before winter the best time to switch energy plan.
As soon as you’re no longer on the hook for an exit fee, it’s a good time to change energy company. Generally, your switching window (where exit fees do not apply) will open 49 days before your contract ends. Your energy supplier should notify you 42-29 days before the end of your tariff, so you should have plenty of time to make a switch. Bear in mind that it will take between 21 and 28 days to switch, so it’s best to give yourself plenty of leeway, otherwise, you could find yourself moved to a standard variable tariff for a couple of days while you’re waiting for your new tariff to start.
There are plenty of other reasons to change your energy plan. Here are some of the most common reasons to make the switch:
When you move to a new house: If you’ve recently moved home, it may be a good time to reassess your energy supplier. You may now have a larger or smaller home, a different heating system, or different appliances, all of which could have an impact on your energy needs.
When your life circumstances change: There is a range of different circumstances that could have an impact on the way that you use energy and make it a good idea to change power supplier. For example, if your kids have recently left home, you’re unlikely to use as much gas and electricity as you did before. And if you were on an Economy 7 plan but have recently retired, you may start using energy during the daytime hours more frequently, which could be a good motivating factor to change gas and electric supplier.
When you think that prices may go up: If you’re on a standard variable tariff, you should receive a warning due to the Ofgem price cap. At this point, the decision to change gas and electric supplier could be a cost-effective one, particularly if you decide to switch to a cheaper fixed tariff.
When you have paid off an energy debt: In some cases – such as when you’ve owed your energy supplier for over 28 days – you won’t be able to change power supplier until you’ve paid off your debt to your supplier. Once you’ve paid off your debt, it’s a good time to make a switch, potentially to a cheaper energy tariff.
You shouldn’t change energy company at a point in your contract where you will need to pay an exit fee or a cancellation penalty. In many cases, the exit fee will outweigh any potential savings that you could have made by switching, so it wouldn’t make sense to make the change.
If you’ve looked at when to switch energy supplier and decided that it may be time to make a move, it’s relatively simple to find a new energy plan. Here’s our step by step guide to a quick and hassle-free switching process:
Make sure you’ve got the documents you need. First off, find a recent bill. This will tell you a couple of important facts, such as who your supplier is and what tariff you’re on. It’s also a good idea to keep your bank details close to hand so that you can easily sign up with a new provider.
Go to a price comparison website. There are many options to choose from, so rather than picking a random site, be sure to choose one that’s accredited to Ofgem’s Confidence Code.
Enter your postcode. Because energy prices vary from region to region, you’ll need to enter your postcode to find out which suppliers serve your area and what plans are available.
Enter your usage information. Next, you’ll need to input your household’s energy consumption details. If you can’t find these on your most recent bill, you will be able to form an estimate based on questions about your lifestyle provided by the price comparison site.
Compare your results and pick a plan. At this point, you’ll be shown a list of options showing many different plans and suppliers. You will then need to make a decision about the plan that is best suited to your lifestyle. If you value environmentally-conscious plans, opt for a green energy supplier. On the other hand, if you use a significant proportion of your energy at night, you may want to look into an Economy 7 or Economy 10 plan. You should also consider issues like customer service.
Confirm the switch. After you’ve chosen a new supplier you want to switch to, there’s only one thing left to do: confirm the plan. All you need to do is provide your bank details and address and your new supplier will take care of the rest.
No, unless you’ve been in debt to your supplier for over 28 days, there’s nothing it can do to stop you from switching to another supplier. If you’ve been in debt with your supplier for 28 days or less, the amount of money that you owe will be added to your final bill. If you’re not yet in the switching window, your supplier may be able to enforce an exit fee for customers who decide to switch, but as long as you’re happy to pay the fee, you can change power supplier with ease.
As long as you’re out of contract, the whole process of moving to a new supplier is completely free. The only potential charges you may need to factor into your decision are exit fees.
By understanding the best time to switch energy supplier, you can ensure that you’re always on an energy deal that’s good value for your household. If you neglect to change energy company on a regular basis, you can be moved to an expensive standard variable tariff at the end of your plan, which can lead to higher monthly bills.