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The benefits of switching energy supplier

Are you overpaying for your energy? Significant savings could be just a switch away.

Energy suppliers are now offering attractive deals to new customers. Switching suppliers can seem like a hassle, but it is easier than most people think.

This guide provides all the information you need to know about how to switch energy suppliers.

Jump to the key parts of our guide:

How to switch energy suppliers

Our experts summarise the steps involved in switching to a new energy supplier.

<h3>Step 1. Choose your new supplier</h3>

Step 1. Choose your new supplier

Ofgem’s latest retail market report shows that 21 energy suppliers are actively trying to attract customers in today’s market.

The first step in the switching process is to choose which of these suppliers you want to switch to. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Who is offering the best deal? – Use our energy comparison service to find how much you can save based on the latest deals.
  • Who offers the best customer service? – Refer to our best energy suppliers report for information about the top-performing suppliers.
  • Additional perks – Consider additional services included within energy deals, such as free boiler checks or cinema vouchers.
  • Tariff length – Most energy deals offered to new customers are fixed tariffs that lock you into an agreed price per kWh for 12 or 24 months.

💡 New energy deals typically include an early exit fee payable if you switch before the fixed term ends. Longer tariffs may be the cheapest option, but make sure you are comfortable with the length of the new contract.

<h3>Step 2: Collect the information you need</h3>

Step 2: Collect the information you need

All the information required to switch to a new supplier can be found on a recent energy bill. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Your address and postcode
  • The energy supply you need (electricity and/or gas)
  • Name of your current supplier and tariff
  • Whether you have a smart meter?
  • The amount of energy you use (in kWh)
  • Details to set up a direct debit (bank account number, sort code)
  • Bill payer details
  • Details needed for a credit check, including date of birth
<h3>Step 3: Apply for a switch online</h3>

Step 3: Apply for a switch online

You can apply to switch suppliers either directly through the website of your chosen supplier or via an energy comparison website.

In either case, you will need to enter all the details you have collected in Step 2 above.

You will also need to choose your switch date as part of the application. Here are your options:

  • As soon as possible – This can be as quick as five working days.
  • At the end of the 14-day cooling-off period – Your new supplier will hold off for 14 days before completing your switch to avoid any issues in case you change your mind.
  • At a defined future date – If you’re coming to the end of a fixed tariff, you can arrange for your switch date to be the day after your current contract ends.
<h3>Step 4: Await confirmation from your new supplier</h3>

Step 4: Await confirmation from your new supplier

Your new supplier will process your application and will be in touch with you to confirm acceptance.

Your new supplier’s customer service team will be in touch if there are any issues as part of their onboarding process.

💡Most energy suppliers will conduct a credit check as part of their acceptance procedures.

<h3>Step 5: Confirmation of your switch date</h3>

Step 5: Confirmation of your switch date

Your new supplier will contact your old supplier to arrange your switch.

Once the switch has been arranged, your new supplier will contact you to confirm your switch date.

💡You do not need to inform your current supplier that you intend to switch. Your new supplier will handle the whole transfer.

<h3>Step 6 - Take a meter reading on your switch date</h3>

Step 6 - Take a meter reading on your switch date

We highly recommend taking a manual meter reading on your confirmed switch date.

If you have a smart energy meter, your new and old suppliers may be able to do this automatically, but it’s worth having a backup, just in case.

Your new and old supplier will use your final meter reading to calculate your final and first bills.

<h3>Step 7 - Settling your old account</h3>

Step 7 - Settling your old account

Once the switch has been completed, your old supplier will send you a final bill up to the switch date.

Your old supplier will attempt to take payment through your direct debit if this is how you usually pay.

💡If your account is in credit (your old supplier owes you money), this will be refunded within 14 days of your final bill.

How long does it take to switch energy suppliers?

Ofgem has recently rolled out its energy switching program, known as the Energy Switch Guarantee.

Under the guarantee, suppliers have committed to delivering switching for customers in 5 working days so that you can benefit from your new rates within a week.

The energy switching guarantee isn’t universal.

As of April 2024, the following suppliers have signed up to the scheme:

  • British Gas
  • EDF Energy
  • E.ON Next
  • Octopus Energy
  • Outfox the Market
  • Ovo Energy
  • Scottish Power
  • Shell Energy
  • SO Energy

Source – Energy UK – Energy Switch Guarantee

The process may take a little longer for suppliers that haven’t committed to the switching guarantee.

When’s the best time to switch energy suppliers?

Following the energy crisis, most home energy customers use a standard variable energy tariff, paying rates set by the energy price cap.

The cheapest tariffs available in the market are fixed-rate energy tariffs. These tariffs offer savings compared to the current price cap rate and lock in your energy price per kWh for a specified period.

Switching to a new supplier with a fixed tariff gives you security over energy bills, but if market prices fall, you may have saved more by not switching.

The decision on when to switch energy suppliers is a key one, so we’ve provided a specific guide on “Should I Fix My Energy Costs?

Tips for switching energy supplier

Switching energy suppliers is normally painless, but a few points are worth considering before starting a switch.

<h3>Review your current bill</h3>

Review your current bill

Most homes pay a monthly fixed direct debit on energy bills. Review your latest bill to see if you owe your energy supplier money or if they owe you (in credit). If you switch away, you’ll need to settle whatever you owe.

<h3>Are you currently in contract?</h3>

Are you currently in contract?

Most fixed energy tariffs have an early exit fee clause if you switch energy suppliers before your end date. Review a recent energy bill to determine what type of tariff you have. If it’s a variable tariff, you can switch without a fee.

<h3>Do you have a smart meter?</h3>

Do you have a smart meter?

Smart meters are great. They automatically send meter readings to your supplier, saving you hassle, and they let you keep track of your energy usage. However, not all suppliers can support smart meter readings, so ensure your chosen supplier does.

Switch energy suppliers – FAQs

We know switching energy suppliers can be confusing, so here are some answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

Can I switch if I owe money to my current supplier?

Most energy suppliers will let you switch to another supplier if you have been in debt for less than 28 days. They will add this amount to your final bill. If you have been in debt for over 28 days, you must repay this first.

What if I change my mind about switching?

Home energy contracts have a cooling-off period of 14 days from the date you agree to the contract. You can change your mind and inform your new supplier during this time.

The cooling-off period guarantee is enforced by Ofgem, the regulator. For more information, refer to our complete guide to the cooling-off period.

Can I switch to a renewable energy supplier for my electricity?

Yes, you definitely can. When comparing and switching, you can use our energy comparison tool and select green tariffs in the filter option.

This will give you all the energy suppliers offering a renewable tariff, and you can decide which best suits your needs.

Can I switch suppliers with a prepayment meter?

The energy switching process is identical for homes with prepayment meters.

The only additional caveat is that you must owe your current supplier less than £500 for gas and £500 for electricity at the point you decide to switch.

Can I get compensation if the energy-switching process goes wrong?

Ofgem, the energy regulator, oversees a program of compensation for when something goes wrong with the switching process.

If a mistake is made by either your old or new energy supplier, you can claim £30 if:

The compensation should be paid automatically by the relevant supplier in the above situations.

Source: Ofgem – Get compensation for problems switching energy suppliers.

How easy is it to switch energy suppliers?

The process of switching energy suppliers can seem pretty daunting, but it’s important to remember that there won’t be any physical changes in the electricity or gas supply to your home.

It’s just a matter of paperwork, and your new supplier will do most of the work.

We recommend reviewing our step by step process for switching energy suppliers to understand just how easy it is.

Let AquaSwitch help you find your next energy tariff. Compare energy prices today.