Switching your energy can be confusing. You may be wondering how to find the best supplier, how long it will take, and what you have to do to make the switch. To help make it easier, we’ve created a handy guide to switching.
If you’re in a rented property, have an outstanding debt with your current supplier, or have a pay as you go meter, you may be wondering whether you are allowed to switch your energy.
If you’re in rented accommodation, you, the tenant, will usually be allowed to choose who supplies your energy. If your landlord is the person named on the bills, or there is a clause in your contract that prevents you from changing your supply, speak to your landlord first.
If you have a pay as you go meter, you can still switch. Depending on your circumstances, your new supplier may give you the option of either keeping your pay as you go meter, or changing to a credit meter instead.
If you have a debt with your current supplier, and you try to switch, they may object to you doing so. This means you’ll need to make arrangements to pay the outstanding balance before you switch.
Each provider will have a range of tariffs to choose from. So the first thing to do with any provider is get a quote, and find out what range of tariffs they offer.
When choosing a tariff, consider the following:
Price: When you get a quote, you'll be given an estimated monthly cost based on a number of factors, including the size of your home and number of people in your household. Your actual monthly usage may be higher or lower than estimated. Gas and electricity tariffs are priced per kilowatt hour (kWh). There will also be a separate rate for 'standing charges'. The standing charge is the daily flat-rate cost of having a gas or electricity supply. This will stay the same regardless of how much energy you use.
Fixed or flexible tariffs: When choosing a tariff, you'll usually be given the option of a fixed term or flexible tariff. Fixed tariffs are often cheaper, and come with the added benefit of knowing your prices will not go up during the fixed term. However, you may be charged an early exit fee if you switch to another provider before the fixed term ends. Flexible tariffs will allow you to end the contract at any time without an exit fee, but the unit rate is likely to be higher.
If customer service is important to you, sites like Truspilot provide ratings information for most UK energy suppliers.
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This can vary, but companies who are signed up to the Energy Switch Guarantee promise to transfer your supply within 21 days. You may find that it takes less time than this.
The reason it takes a few weeks to switch is the fact that your new supplier has to give you 14 days in which to change your mind. Known as the ‘cooling off period’, this clause is designed to give consumers time to read through the terms and conditions of the new contract, and withdraw from the agreement if they wish.
Your new supplier will usually perform a credit check when you sign up. You will need to provide them with your addresses going back around three years. If you don’t pass the credit check, you may be offered a pay as you go meter.
No, your new supply will start as soon as your current supply ends, meaning you will not be left without gas or electricity for any period of time.
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