Why switch energy suppliers

You should consider switching energy suppliers every year to make sure you’re always on a competitive energy deal.

Switch energy to save money

Switching energy suppliers can save you a lot of money. 

If you spot a better deal then switching is a no-brainer. 

You get exactly the same gas and electricity whichever supplier you use. No company offers “better” fuel than its rivals.

But some companies do offer better prices than others. 

Unit rates, tariffs and deals are always changing. Switching on a regular basis is a good way to make sure you get the best rate. 

Switching every year or so is a good idea.

It might sound like a hassle, but energy switch savings are well worth it. 

First time switchers can often save hundreds of pounds a year. 

Even if you've switched suppliers before, you’re still likely to sav each time you switch.

Find out about other ways to save in our home and money management guide.

Switch to a green energy tariff

Some people may want to switch to a ‘green’ energy tariff to help the environment.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, a green tariff means some or all of the electricity you buy is ‘matched' by purchases of renewable energy that your energy supplier makes on your behalf.¹

Renewable energy sources include solar, wind, tidal, hydro and geothermal.

When can I switch energy suppliers?

You can switch energy suppliers at any time, but some times are better than others.

On most fixed energy tariffs you might face a charge if you change during the initial fixed period. A bit like a fixed rate mortgage

This fee will take from, or cost more than the savings you make by changing deals.

So it’s best to switch energy once the introductory period has come to an end. 

Fixed periods usually last 12, 18 or 24 months.

Ofgem rules say you have a switching window of 49 days before the end of your contract. 

Exit fees will not apply if you switch from a fixed tariff to another supplier within this window.

If you’re on your supplier’s standard or default energy tariff you can usually switch at any time without being charged.

Default tariffs are often among the most expensive on the market. So switching from them is almost always a good idea.

If you move house, it might seem convenient to stay using the energy supplier of the previous owners. 

But their household and lifestyle may be different to yours. So the existing provider or tariff may not be right for you. 

If you switch your central heating from Economy 7 or Economy 10 to a more modern central heating system, you’ll need to switch your energy tariff too. 

These are tariffs that offer different prices for electricity you use in the day or night. They often work together with electric storage heaters.

How do I switch energy suppliers?

You can switch energy providers online or over the phone. 

It’s easy and there’ll be no supply interruption or change to the pipes and wires that come into your home.

Check whether you'll be charged a fee for cancelling your current energy deal. 

Exit fees are common with fixed rate tariffs if you want to leave early.

Check your energy bill or online account to find the name of your tariff. It'll also show how much you spend per month or year on gas and electricity in kilowatt hours (kWh).

Make sure you know the difference between a fixed and variable energy tariff.

A fixed tariff means the price you pay per unit of energy stays the same for the whole length of the plan. 

It does not mean your bill will be the same each month. This will depend on how much energy you use.

Energy companies can change the unit rate on variable tariffs whenever they like.

Find a price comparison site to compare the energy tariffs currently available.

Popular energy switch sites include:

  • MoneySupermarket.com

  • uSwitch.com

  • energyhelpline.com

  • CompareTheMarket.com

  • GoCompare.com

  • SimplySwitch.com

Energy switching sites earn a commission each time you switch using their site. But this should not affect the energy companies they recommend.

The information you need to enter to get a list of best tariffs each price comparison site may change.

Often you'll have to enter:

  • your address

  • the size of your property

  • whether you want to switch electricity or gas, or both

  • your current supplier and the name of your tariff

  • how much you spend per month or year on electricity and gas, in kilowatt hours or pounds (£)

  • how you pay for energy such as direct debit

  • your existing tariff end date

  • how you get your energy bill (in the post or online)

Price comparison sites will list energy tariffs and tell you how much you can save by switching to each one.

When you pick a new supplier or tariff, you might want to consider:

  • if the company has good reviews

  • how long it has been in business

  • what a Google search of the company name shows

Once you’ve decided on a supplier and tariff, confirm your energy switch. 

The price comparison site will tell you your new supplier who will arrange the switch for you.

Your new supplier will contact you in 2 to 3 weeks’ time. 

Follow its instructions about meter readings and how you’ll pay your bill.

How long does it take to switch energy suppliers?

It normally takes 3 to 6 weeks to switch energy suppliers.

A number of energy suppliers have signed up to the Energy Switch Guarantee.² 

The guarantee states that switching your supply should be done within 21 days.

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Sources

¹ Energy Saving Trust - Buying green electricity

² Energy Switch Guarantee - About the Energy Switch Guarantee