Monday, October 12, 2015
Switching energy supplier is one of the easiest ways you can save large amounts of money on your gas and electricity bills. Websites like uSwitch make it very easy to switch your energy supplier online in less than half an hour. Not only can you save hundreds of pounds by switching, but comparison websites will do all the hard work for you by contacting your new supplier.
Can everyone switch and save?
Generally yes. Most people on a standard credit meter, and even households on a prepayment meter, can switch energy supplier. Even if you are currently on a fixed rate tariff you can switch supplier, but may have to pay an exit fee to leave your current tariff. If you are unsure whether you will need to pay an exit, check the terms and conditions. Some suppliers e.g. Sainsbury’s Energy have the exit fees for your current tariff on their gas and electricity bills. If you are in doubt contact your current energy supplier. Sometimes it can be worth paying the exit fee to leave a tariff if you can save more more money by switching energy supplier. Check out our guide to understanding your energy bill to find out where the information is that you need.
Information you need to switch
Before you start comparing suppliers, or trying to switch energy suppliers, it is important to have the following information ready:
- Your post code
- Current gas and electricity supplier, and the name of your tariffs (these can be found on your latest bill or annual statement)
- How much you spend (monthly or annually) on gas and electricity. You can also use the amount of energy you consume in kWh. The more accurate you can be with these, the more accurate the comparison will be.
- Your bank details if you choose to pay by direct debit
Don’t worry if you don’t have an old bill to hand, most online switching sites allow you to carry out a comparison based on an estimate of your energy usage. These estimates are based on a short questionnaire about your home and lifestyle.
The comparison and switching process
Whether you use uSwitch, GoCompare, MoneySupermarket, or any of the other comparison sites out there, the basic process is very similar. Enter your details into the switching form (using the information from the above list). Once you have submitted all your details, you will be a shown a long list of all the different energy suppliers and their tariffs. Most sites will not only show the estimated savings compared to your current supplier, but a projected forecast for the next 12 months, and even user reviews of the energy supplier. You will be able to sort this list of supplier by cost, showing the cheapest first.
Once you have looked through the offers available, you will be able to select one and be shown how to complete the switching process. The information you have put into the switching form will be then sent to the supplier that you have chosen. Your new chosen supplier will contact your old supplier to tell them that you are switching so you don’t have to.
You will receive information from your new supplier by post or email about your new tariff (the date when the switch process will be completed, your new account details, the terms and conditions of the tariff etc.). Your old supplier will then contact you asking that you send them final meter readings. When you have submitted these you will receive a final bill or statement and whether you are in credit (i.e you are owed money) or debit (i.e. you owe money to the supplier which you will need to settle).
Generally this is the end of the switching process and you will have a new supplier and be saving money.
Other ways to switch
Comparison and switching websites are fantastic as they make switching energy supplier very simple and quick. However, sometimes you can miss out on the best deals. Another way to switch energy supplier and save money is to use a collective switching scheme. Read our guide on collective switching for more information, how they work and where to find them.
This post has been an in-depth look into switching energy supplier. There are still a lot more simple ways to save money and energy around your home. Don’t forget to check out our other in-depth guides in the Know-How section.
Remember that in the meantime you can ask us any questions on Twitter and Facebook. Follow us for all the latest site updates, and don’t forget to share this story with your friends so we can help even more people save energy and money.
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