It’s a brand new year and you’ve probably made a few resolutions you swear to stick by. Losing weight? Quitting smoking? Cutting down on alcohol?
But what about saving money on your energy bills? You’ll probably be able to save money on your gas and electricity bills by switching to a new supplier.
We think you should start as you mean to go on and take a look at switching your energy providers – it may prove to be rather beneficial!
Things to consider before you switch
You should check:
- whether or not your current supplier offers a cheaper tariff – this will save you the effort of switching
- If your current supplier will charge you an exit fee – you can find this out on your energy bill
- Research what the customer service rating is like for the potential new supplier
- You may not be able to switch if you’re in debt to your supplier or if you’re a tenant
Be aware, if you get the Warm Home Discount (a benefit for pensioners), check whether the new supplier offers it – you’ll lose it if they don’t.
How does it work?
- Step one
Look around and source the best tariff for you by comparing tariffs, there are some good comparison websites online that will enable you to see your choices, and potential savings, links below. Once you’ve found one, call the supplier – they’ll set up the switch and tell your old supplier. Alternatively, some providers offer the option of switching online.
The new energy providers will require just a few details from you like the name of your existing supplier, where you live and the average amount of energy you use.
Take a meter reading on the day of the transfer to give to your new supplier – this means they won’t charge you for energy used before the switch.
Pay your old supplier’s final bill or get a refund if you’re in credit.
- Step two
You’ll get a 14-day cooling-off period to make sure you’re happy with your choice and during this time, you’ll probably be kept updated with emails by the new providers, which includes all of your details about your new online account.
- Step three
You’ll be informed when the 14-day cooling off period has ended and you’ll be informed how much your monthly payments will be. This is based on the information provided when you initially registered and can also include usage information from your previous supplier, so may change depending on your usage and tariff.
If you’re happy with your new tariff, you’ll then need to give the new supplier your energy meter reference numbers, known as ‘MPRN’ or ‘MPAN’ numbers.
This will ensure they switch your energy supply and not someone else’s. You can find these numbers on your energy bill.
- Step four
Finally, you will be asked for your opening reading which the new provider will send to your previous supplier, therefore closing your account.
It can take up to 28 days for them to receive this reading, so you won’t receive your final bill straight away. Your first payment may come out straight away, depending on your Direct Debit date. After your first payment you can change the date of your Direct Debit online.
Generally, switching to a new supplier should take around 17 days, but can take up to 3 weeks.
The new supplier should contact you to tell you what day your supply should be switched.
If this process exceeds 17 days, contact the supplier to find out why. You can make a complaint if you’re not happy with their explanation.
But what if you’re not happy and wish to change your mind about the swap?
Well, once you enter into a contract with the new supplier (this could be done verbally on the phone), you’ll have 14 days to change your mind and cancel the switch. You should contact the new supplier to let them know.
Be aware that if you cancel your contract after 14 days, you may be charged a fee.
Happy New Year and happy switching and saving!
The Ofgem site offers good advice and comparisons:
Ofgem accredited energy comparison sites: