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 constantly changing. So switching energy providers 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 have switched energy suppliers before, you’re still likely to make savings 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 there are some times that are better than others.

With most fixed energy tariffs, you might be charged if you change suppliers during the initial fixed period (a bit like a fixed rate mortgage). 

This fee will eat into, and possibly cost more, than any 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 won’t 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 energy providers at any time without being charged a fee.

Default tariffs tend to be among the most expensive on the market so switching away from them is almost always a good idea.

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

However, their household and lifestyle may be different to yours and so the existing provider or tariff may not be the right one 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 which offer different prices for electricity used in the day or night and 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 and how much you spend per month or year on gas and electricity in kilowatt hours (kWh).

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

A fixed tariff means the price you pay per unit of energy remains the same for the duration of the plan. 

It doesn’t mean your bill will be the same each month as that 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 energy using their site. But this shouldn’t affect the energy companies they recommend.

Depending on the price comparison site you use, you’ll need to input some or all of the following information for it to generate a list of the best tariffs for your energy switch.

  • 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 (e.g. direct debit)

  • your existing tariff end date

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

A price comparison site will generate a list of 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 other factors as well as price. 

Does the company have good reviews? How long has it been in business? What does a Google search of the company name come up with?

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

The price comparison site will inform 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 regarding 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 completed within 21 days.

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¹ Energy Saving Trust - Buying green electricity

² Energy Switch Guarantee - About the Energy Switch Guarantee