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How to Switch Energy Providers

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Switching energy suppliers can be a good way to find a better deal on your gas and electricity bills. You could potentially save hundreds a year! Ready to start saving but unsure how to get the ball rolling? Here’s how to switch energy providers. 

How to switch energy supplier 

  1. Find a recent energy bill
  2. Select a tariff
  3. Compare quotes 
  4. Check before you switch
  5. Take meter readings
  6. Check your old account balance
  7. Allow roughly 3 weeks to switch

Why switch energy suppliers? 

Switching energy suppliers is one of the best energy-saving tips out there, which can save you money in turn. In fact, you could knock hundreds off your gas and electricity bills each year, putting more cash in your pocket. 

Many of us are still on our supplier’s standard energy tariff, which is usually the most expensive, even with the energy price cap. It’s estimated that around 60% of us are paying more than we should for our utilities.

What’s more, making the switch gives you the chance to reduce your carbon footprint. Renewable energy suppliers are now competing with the cheapest tariffs, so you could save money and do your bit for the planet at the same time. It’s a win-win!

Switch Energy Supplier

How to switch energy providers

Wondering how to change energy suppliers? It’s easier than you might think! Here’s a handy step-by-step:

#1 – Find a recent energy bill

You’ll need some information before you make the switch, so have this all to hand:

  • Postcode
  • Full address
  • Current supplier name
  • Current tariff
  • Annual energy costs/use

Much of this can be found on a recent energy bill, or log in to your account if you can’t find one (or don’t get paper bills).

#2 – Select a tariff

Once you have all the information you need to hand, you can start comparing energy tariffs. Most people use a price comparison website. We can help you get started with that below – simply enter your postcode and start weighing up your options!

There are many different types of tariff to choose from, each with their pros and cons. Do your research to ensure you’re making the right decision:

  • Standard  – the ‘default’ and usually the most expensive. Usually has no contract or exit fees, so you can leave when you like
  • Fixed – the amount you pay for gas and electric is fixed each month 
  • Variable – the amount you pay changes whenever your supplier raises/lowers its prices (you must be given 30 days’ notice beforehand)
  • Time-of-use tariff – charge different rates for electricity depending on the time of day, or the day of the week 
  • Dual-fuel – where you have both fuels (gas & electric) from one supplier

#3 – Compare quotes  

If you use a price comparison tool, rather than going to a supplier directly, you’ll be shown a range of deals. Compare these closely to see which is the cheapest option. However, you should also do your research into the supplier themselves. For example, do they have good customer service?

#4 – Check before you switch

Even if you’ve found a cheaper deal, don’t jump the gun too soon. There are some things you should check first, to ensure switching is the right decision – and is cost-effective. 

  • Exit fees – are there any with your current tariff?
  • Do you need a smart meter (for your new tariff)?
  • Are there any upfront payments to be made?
  • How will payments be made? (e.g. direct debit – and is this fixed or variable?)
  • How much will your new deal cost every month? Is it definitely less than your current one?
  • How will you receive bills?

Make sure you fully understand the new deal you’re signing up for before going any further. This helps avoid any nasty surprises, such as initial costs being higher than expected. 

#5 – Take meter readings

When you sign up to a new supplier, you’ll likely be asked for meter readings. This allows your new supplier to create a bill, and your old supplier to create a final bill. 

#6 – Check your old account balance

If you’re ‘in credit’ when you switch (i.e. you’ve paid for energy you haven’t yet used) you should be refunded automatically. But, it’s always worth checking this. You should also ensure you don’t owe any money to your old supplier. 

#7 – Allow for roughly 3 weeks to switch

So, how long does it take to switch energy providers? While finding quotes can take minutes, you should expect to complete the full switch in up to 21 days. This can be lower, e.g. 16 or 18 days. 

You can often choose to cancel the switch, free of charge, within 2 weeks, known as the ‘cooling off period’. 

Swapping energy provider FAQs

Can I switch if I rent?

Yes – if it’s your responsibility to pay energy bills, you have the legal right to choose your energy provider. 

What if I’m in debt with my current supplier?

According to Ofgem, you can still switch with debts of up to £500 on gas and £500 on electricity. Your new supplier will take on the debt and you can pay them instead.

Bear in mind that if you’ve owed money for over 28 days, you’ll need to repay the debt first. 

What if I don’t know who my supplier is?

If you don’t know who your gas or electricity suppliers are, and can’t find a recent bill, there are other ways you can find out. 

For gas, talk to the Meter Point Administration Service. They can give you a Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN) which tells your energy supplier where your meter is, as well as your gas supply number. 

For electricity, the Energy Network Association allows you to find your network operator by postcode. The network operator can also give you your electricity Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN), which tells your energy supplier where your meter is, plus your electricity supply number.

How can I further reduce my energy bills?

You should change your habits also to further reduce monthly costs. Other energy saving home improvements include:

  • Turning down the thermostat
  • Using the washing machine on a lower temperature setting (e.g. 30 degrees)
  • Getting an eco-kettle
  • Replacing the boiler
  • Not leaving appliances on standby

Are renewable sources more expensive?

Not necessarily, a lot of the time, they’re actually cheaper. In fact, according to the Big Clean Switch, 7/10 of the cheapest energy tariffs are green.

Where can I find a renewable energy supplier?

We can help you find a renewable energy supplier in a matter of seconds – and all you need is a postcode. Ready to start saving every month? Get started below.

Switch Energy Supplier

Last Updated: August 5th, 2021