Can I switch energy companies?
Yes - and if you never have before, you might be surprised by how much money you'll save.
The UK's gas and electricity markets are privatised, which means you buy your power from companies - not from the state, as in previous years.
There are six big energy suppliers in this country, as well as a variety of smaller energy firms. It's up to you to decide which of them you use.
Like many companies that sell financial products, energy firms have historically reserved their very cheapest deals for new customers - leaving those who've been loyal to the same company for years paying far more.
You've nothing to lose by checking how much you'd save if you switched to an alternative energy provider, and it's easy to do so using MoneySuperMarket's energy comparison channel.
How easy is switching energy suppliers?
Switching your energy supplier is very easy, and one of the most efficient ways to do so is online. MoneySuperMarket's energy switching service will help you to organise changing your electricity and / or gas provider in just four steps.
To find out which energy supplier is offering the best deal for you, you'll need to provide details such as your postcode and your annual spend on energy (or the amount you pay for each kilowatt hour (kW/h) of energy you use).
This information allows us to make the calculations that will show which electricity and gas providers are the cheapest for your household - so if you can, it's a good idea to find your latest energy bill or annual energy statement before getting started.
Once you've reviewed the results of your comparison you can choose whether to switch your energy supplier. You may also want to run two comparisons to see whether it's best to opt for separate gas and electricity providers or take a dual fuel tariff from just one.
If you decide to switch, simply select the provider of your choice. Your new supplier will organise the switch on your behalf.
There will be no break in your energy supply when this happens, so there's no need to worry that you'll lose power even temporarily.
How long does it take to change energy providers?
The process of changing who provides your energy should take between two and six weeks.
To ensure your switch goes smoothly, you'll need to provide your new energy provider with meter readings when these are requested. You will also need to settle any outstanding bills from your old supplier.
Is there anything else I need to know?
Yes - before you start the process of switching your energy provider, double check the terms of the tariff you are on with your current supplier.
If you're on a fixed energy tariff, for example, you may have to pay a penalty for exiting your contract early. As this could offset the money you save by changing providers, it's worth factoring it into the overall equation.
Under Ofgem rules, all energy suppliers should now allow customers to terminate any contract with them up to 49 days ahead of a tariff's end date, penalty-free.
This, among other regulatory changes, should help make switching easier for customers currently on fixed energy deals.