Changing from one energy supplier to another is a relatively straightforward process. All that is required of you is some research to find a new provider and tariff that suits your needs.
These are the most common questions when it comes to switching suppliers:
Is switching suppliers easy?
Once you have compared the market and found the best deal, you simply sign up with your new provider. They will then liaise with your existing energy supplier and agree a date for you to switchover.
What causes energy prices to change?
Gas and electricity prices fluctuate in line with changes to the cost of wholesale oil and coal prices. Wholesale prices can be affected by many things, including fuel shortages, politics and natural disasters.
How much can I save by switching?
The amount of money you can save depends on a number of factors, including the area you live in and the amount of energy you use.
Ofgem, the UK’s energy market regulator, claims the average household could reduce their energy bills by more than £100 by changing suppliers.
Do I need to contact my existing supplier?
No. They will liaise with your new provider and agree a date for your switchover. You’ll then receive a welcome letter from your new supplier informing you of this date, and a final bill from your old supplier.
How can I find out who my existing provider is?
The name of your current energy supplier is printed at the top of each gas and electricity bill, and letter you receive from them. Alternatively, you can contact the meter number helpline on 0870 608 1524.
Do I have to cancel my direct debit?
No. When you switch energy suppliers the direct debit to your old supplier will automatically be cancelled.
Will switching cause any disruption or loss of energy?
No. As mentioned above, your current supplier will communicate with your new energy provider and agree a date when the latter will take over your energy supply, ensuring there is no break or disruption to your supply.
Can I take my gas and electricity from the same supplier?
Yes. Most energy companies offer the option of taking both gas and electricity from them through a ‘dual fuel’ tariff. These plans are usually a cheaper option than getting your gas and electricity from separate suppliers, and are also easier to manage than having two single fuel tariffs.
Can I switch from a prepayment meter?
Yes. Switching from a prepayment meter to a direct debit payment system could save you a lot of money, due to the fact that prepayment meters are often set at higher rates than other credit tariffs and do not allow you to take advantage of any online-only discounts or fixed prices.
However, bear in mind that you won’t be able to switch online as an engineer will have to visit your home to change your meter manually. Your suppler will also charge you a small installation fee.
Can I switch if I owe money to my current supplier?
If you have outstanding bills with your existing energy provider, then you may be prevented from switching until you have repaid what you owe. If you’re in debt but now pay your bills by direct debit and are able to switch providers, be aware that the full outstanding balance will automatically be taken from your account when you switch.
Are there any penalties for switching?
You may have to pay an exit fee to your supplier if you’re on a fixed-price tariff and want to switch before the end of the special-rate period. However, this fee will most likely be cancelled out by the money you save by changing suppliers so don’t let it deter you from switching. Before agreeing to any deal, check the terms and conditions of your contract as this will include information on any exit charges.
How can I make a complaint?
If you are unhappy with the level of service provided by your new energy supplier and have been unable to resolve the issues with them directly, you should contact Ofgem or Consumer Focus and inform them of your problems.