Genius of Switching

Calling switching energy supplier for £200 the act of a genius is rather like suggesting a man who picks up a ten bob note from the gutter is an astute manager of money.

Both are obvious things to do – or at least you would have thought so. Except the swathe of statistics from OFGEM would appear to suggest that despite an average saving of between £150 and £300 a year (depending upon when in the price change cycle you look at these things) only 14% of households changed supplier last year. Now that either means that we are in the minority in thinking that £200 for 10 minutes work is a pretty decent return; or the man in the street doesn’t believe the £200, doesn’t believe the 10 minutes or simply disengaged from energy years ago.

We’re pretty sure we aren’t alone in our evaluation of the deal being a good one which leaves us to ponder how the other reasons came to become the prevalent approach to energy switching – no doubt someone somewhere is working up a focus group to study the very phenomenon. Meantime we’ll provide you with some information as to why switching is a pretty straightforward exercise.

It is important for us to reinforce at this point that switching supplier should not be your objective; reducing your costs and improving your sustainability should account for the objective setting phase. But it is hard to escape the fact that generally, the first step on the journey to a lower energy cost existence is almost certainly to switch your tariff; and in all likelihood to switch your supplier as well.

When looking for a better tariff in order to switch energy supplier, you will need to know:
  • Who your supplier is
  • What tariff you are on and how much energy you use

You should use this information when comparing tariffs on our site to get the best possible estimate of your likely costs, and if you are unsure as to your consumption or the validity of the direct debits or bill you have been getting then use our consumption estimator instead. If you have been with your energy supplier for longer than 12 months, you will find this information on your annual statement or a recent bill, but if you cannot find it you can ask your current supplier.

Once you have browsed the results, read up on our guides as to what some of the lingo means in English (fixed vs variable for example), you can choose to switch. You don’t even have to contact your old provider when switching energy supplier! Your new supplier will contact them on your behalf. Changing supplier will take on average 3 weeks.

Your new supplier will inform you of your new start date during this process. Your new supplier will ask you for an opening meter reading. This is to ensure that your account is set up accurately. Your old supplier will send you a final bill for you to pay. Except if the terms and conditions of your old contract state that a cancellation charge applies for your old tariff, you don’t have to pay to switch.

Who can’t switch energy supplier (there’s always an exception!)?

The majority of people have no problem switching energy supplier, but you may have problems switching if:

  • You are in debt to your supplier (when you haven’t paid your bill at least 28 days after receiving it)
  • You have a special meter or tariff that other suppliers cannot support
What if I realise I didn’t want to switch in the end?

Depending on the energy supplier, you have between 7 and 14 days to change your mind about the contract of your new energy supplier after you have agreed it. This is called the cooling off period. A rule of thumb would be not to second guess a decision unless you are very certain that the initial decision to switch was a mistake.

The reality is that the industry is well geared up to switching and it should be seamless. As long as you enter your data correctly (name, address, postcode, DD details if that’s your chosen method) then you shouldn’t have a problem. As we have mentioned before Garbage In, Garbage out – so if we have one important tip for you it would be to make sure you know what your name is, who pays your bills, and where you live!

Find out why switching rates are so low in the UK and how much money we could save collectively, only by switching to a cheaper energy tariff.
In this video, Energy Expert Guy Thompson is looking at where domestic energy switching went wrong:

Source: Consumer Focus