Thinking of changing energy supplier? Find out how to switch with our handy guide with everything you need to know – and don’t worry, there’s nothing complicated about it!
The rising cost of energy is enough to make even the most financially secure households worry – and there’s no shame in seeking a cheaper, fairer deal. We’ll kick-start our guide with a simple step-by-step process to switching your energy supplier, with additional helpful information afterwards:
How to switch energy suppliers – a step-by-step guide
To switch your energy supplier, follow these steps to ensure that you have everything and do everything needed for a swift and efficient switch:
- Check whether you will incur a fee for cancelling your current deal. It’s common for suppliers to have an exit fee, especially on fixed rate tariffs.
- Collect the following information (you will need to present this to your new energy supplier):
- Your postcode and address, including house number;
- The name of your current energy supplier;
- The name of your current energy tariff;
- How much energy you use, and how much you spend – check recent bills and take a meter reading;
- Your bank details if you wish to pay by Direct Debit (there can be discounts for doing so).
- Contact your current energy supplier and notify them of your intention to switch.
- Contact your new energy supplier and express your interest to switch.
What happens next?
After you have notified your current energy supplier of your intention to switch and you have made contact with your new energy supplier, your part in this process is complete – you can sit back and relax. Your new energy supplier will organise the switch and do everything else for you.
Important facts about switching energy supplier
Switching energy suppliers is easy – but there are some things that you need to know before making a decision:
- It is your right to switch energy supplier; doing so will not affect you legally.
- Most suppliers require notice that you wish to switch supply; so always contact your current supplier.
- You can change your mind about switching within 14 days – this is the cooling off period.
- From start to finish, the switching process usually takes 2-3 weeks.
- Switching will not affect your energy supply – you will not be disconnected.
- Tenants and those in rented properties can switch, so long as they pay for the energy bills.
- You can switch if you are moving home – the process is the same as if you weren’t.
- You may not be able to switch if you have outstanding debt with your current supplier.
The benefits to switching energy supplier
Gas and electricity is expensive, and increasingly so. If you shop around to find a deal or tariff that’s cheaper than your current one and you find one, making the switch could save you tens of pounds every year – and that’s based on a 1-bedroom semi. Larger homes could save even more – around £191 per year. And so, the most obvious benefit of switching your energy supplier is that you’ll see less of a dent in your bank account every month, quarter or annually. That’s money that could be spent on the good times – think holidays, fancy meals and extreme sports.
Another benefit to switching your energy supplier is that you can do away with the poor customer service you may have experienced in the past, the lack of rewards such as loyalty points and vouchers and you can stick it to the big six – if you’re tired of them, of course. You’ll also have the opportunity to check out the rest of the market which is now filled with plenty of high quality, independent energy suppliers like Ovo, Oink, LoCO2 and Utilita – it tends to be the case that such energy suppliers are also greener than the bigger suppliers, so switching to one of them may benefit your carbon footprint considerably; and in a world if climate change, we should all be doing our part to help out.
- The average household could save £200 per year or more by switching;
- You will have the opportunity to get rewards, such as loyalty points or vouchers;
- Exercise your consumer rights to switch to a better deal;
- Explore the market and go with a new supplier who matches your environmental responsibilities.
Frequently asked questions about switching
Here are some handy energy switching FAQs that’ll answer common and more rare questions about the switching process:
FAQ: How much money could I save by switching?
The Government reckons that millions of UK households can save around £200 annually on their energy bills by switching – and some can save even more [Gov.uk]. The amount you could save depends on how much energy you consume.
FAQ: When can I switch?
You can switch anytime you like – it’s your right as a consumer. However, it’s important to remember that there may be an exit or termination fee for doing so – a way around this is to switch within 42-49 days of your fixed term contract [Citizens Advice].
FAQ: Can I switch if I owe my energy supplier money?
Not always – if you owe your current energy supplier money, they can legally refuse to let you leave until your debt is paid [ofgem]. And even if they let you leave (which is unlikely), your prospective supplier wouldn’t be too keen to take you on. Whether or not you can switch with debt depends on how much money you owe, the length of time you have owed the money and the type of meter you have. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel – you can switch with debt if you are on a deemed contract or if you are not bound by any contract.
FAQ: I’ve been offered a better deal by my current supplier. Should I stay with them?
It’s common for energy suppliers to throw incentives at customers to retain them – and these incentives, such as Tesco loyalty points and Amazon vouchers, can sometimes tip the scales in your current supplier’s favour. Whether or not you should stay with your current supplier depends entirely on whether or not you are happy with them. There’s no shame in switching.
Could you cut your bills by switching and where are the best deals? – This is Money.
Switching energy supplier fact sheet – Age UK (PDF).
Switching energy supplier fact sheet – Energy UK (PDF).