Changing energy suppliers

With summer coming to a close it’s almost time to start preparing for the cold winter nights that are approaching. Getting the heating on, running those warm baths and turning the lights on every morning to see what you’re doing are all to come and they all use a lot of energy.

Sometimes, sticking to your current supplier turns out more expensive because you may have been on a 12 – 18 month fixed-term deal that has expired meaning your prices could soar. One way you can avoid this is by switching suppliers and making the most of offers and deals available to new customers. It’s also important to see what other extras come with suppliers, for example, many companies such as British Gas, E ON Energy and SSE all supply smart meters to their customers in order to keep on top of your usage allowing you to stay in control.

When is it best to switch energy providers?

Choosing the right moment to switch energy providers can leave you scratching your head in confusion. You might be a loyal customer who’s been paying too much for too long now realising that the offers made by competitors would be a better option. You could also be coming to the end of your contract and just browsing other suppliers to see what’s out there. It turns out the best time to switch is in fact:

  • Within 12 – 18 months is a great time to switch as after losing the ‘new customer’ discounts standard tariffs can start to become a pain as they become more expensive.
  • Before winter has fallen. As winter comes, we are more likely to use a lot more energy heating up our houses and water. If you’re not on a fixed tariff, then you can expect the price to go up as fast as the outside temperatures go down.

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How to switch energy supplier online

Step 1: Go to a price comparison site that is certified on energy suppliers

Be sure to use a comparison site certified by the energy regulator Ofgem. This allows you to get free, thorough information on the energy market up to the standards of Ofgem.

Step 2: Enter your postcode

Prices and availability are set by region. Not all companies can supply all regions, therefore, cutting down the number of available suppliers for you to choose from.

Step 3: Let them know how much you use

To get the most accurate results on your potential bills and suppliers, it’s essential to put in the right information about your energy consumption. You can find these on your last energy bill or by answering lifestyle questions set by the comparison companies.

Part 4: choosing your new plan

Choosing the right plan for you can be a hard task with there being so many options.  When selecting your new provider, you should investigate what type of deal you’ll be getting whether it’s:

  • Fixed tariff- this keeps your monthly cost the same despite how much you use.
  • Variable tariff- these are variable tariff that will depend on your consumption each month

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Frequently Asked Questions

Will my energy supply be interrupted when I switch supplier?

No matter what supplier you’re with, whether that’s gas or electric your supply will not be interrupted. Even when switching providers, you won’t lose your physical supply.

Do I change supplier as soon as I accept the new contract?

The full process takes 17 days to complete. This is so your new supplier has time to contact your old supplier letting them know of the switch and when it will occur. If you switch both gas and electricity, then they may switch on different days.

Can I change my mind?

There is a cooling-off period by law of 14 days. If you happen to want to go back to your old supplier, then all you need to do is contact your new supplier and inform them of your decision. They will then cancel your switch and you will remain with your old supplier.

Can I switch suppliers again?

You can switch suppliers every 28 days if you want to but be careful to check for cancellation charges. We recommend checking your status once or twice a year to make sure you’re still getting the best plan. If you’re on a fixed term plan, with a fixed tariff rate until a given date, it’s also worth making a note of the end date so you can switch around a month before.

Is there any other way to switch?

If you’re unable to or don’t want to switch suppliers over the internet, then it is best to contact suppliers by telephone. Companies such as British Gas, SSE, NPower and EON all have helpful customer service lines that are open regularly throughout the week.