Switching Energy Suppliers

As January and the New Year get underway, most of us need to watch the pennies a little after all of the festivities over the Christmas period. Switching energy suppliers can be an effective way to cut your outgoings.

There is currently a large amount of political pressure on energy suppliers due to the drop in oil prices so it is unlikely that there will be any price hikes in the near future however it is still worth doing a comparison to make sure you are getting the best deal available. Also, going onto a fixed price tariff can protect you as and when the energy companies start to put the prices up again.

Switching is usually a straightforward process and doesn’t involve getting new pipes, cables or meters and you can switch as often as you like.

How Do You Switch?

The first thing to do is to check if you have any exit/cancellation fees on your current energy deal especially if you are on a fixed rate or fixed term tariff and are switching early. Make sure you know who your current supplier is, the name of your tariff and work out how much you currently pay. You will also need your postcode to hand as well as your bank details if you wish to pay by direct debit.

There are a number of comparison websites online that offer an easy way to compare the prices and deals available for lots of suppliers. It is worth using sites that are accredited by the Ofgem Confidence Code as they operate in accordance with Ofgem’s code of practice and can be trusted as a source of information. These sites should display the Confidence Code logo or you can find them listed on the Ofgem website.

One last note on comparison sites – some sites will only show you tariffs by default that they earn commission on so make sure you select the option to show all available tariffs to ensure you get the full picture.

Tips for Switching

  • Firstly your new supplier needs to be told that you’d like to switch to them. If you use a comparison site, they will do this for you but otherwise, contact the new supplier yourself. You should be given a date of when the switch will happen and your new contract begins.
  • Contact your current supplier and let them know that you are moving to a new supplier. Sometimes the new supplier will take care of this for you.
  • Take a meter reading on the day of the switch. Your new supplier will need this and they will also pass this to your old supplier so they can bill you for any outstanding money or credit you for any money owed to you (make sure that you get this money back though if you’re in credit).
  • It is worth keeping the numbers handy for both your old supplier and new supplier just in case you need to get in touch during the process.

The whole process shouldn’t take any more than a few weeks following a 14 day cooling off period when you have the opportunity to change your mind. There shouldn’t be any interruption to your supply as the same wires and pipes will be used.

You should receive a final bill from your previous supplier based on your meter reading but otherwise shouldn’t need to contact your previous supplier as your new supplier will sort everything out.

If you get any problems during the switching process try to sort them out with the suppliers concerned as a first step but if you are unable to then you can contact Trading Standards or the Citizens Advice Bureau.