Get ready to switch your energy provider

Expect to see a flurry of activity in the utilities market over the coming weeks. With British Gas having announced a 10% reduction in its gas prices, the other five major energy providers are likely to announce price cuts imminently. Once they have all put their cards on the table, it will be time for the nation to get switching.

Falling energy bills will come as welcome relief given the huge price hikes we endured last year but the majority of households could boost their savings further by switching to a more competitive tariff.

Most households are paying their energy provider’s standard prices and while these are set to fall an online tariff will offer much better value.

The typical household on a provider’s standard tariff will be paying an average of £1,280 a year, but they could cut this to less than £1,050 if by switching to an online deal and opting to pay monthly by direct debit. This is a significant saving – nearly £250 a year – but DON’T SWITCH JUST YET.

If you change energy provider now, there is no guarantee that the cheapest tariff will still be best value, so hold off for a few weeks to ensure you get the best deal.

In the meantime however, here’s a step-by-step guide on how the switching process works so you’ll be ready to move once all the providers have announced their new prices. 

How the switching process works:

  • STEP 1: Go to our comparison tool and enter your postcode. You will also be asked whether you want a detailed search or a quick search – neither will take long to complete.

  • STEP 2: If you opt for the detailed search you will be asked for details of your current gas and electricity suppliers (or supplier if you are on a dual fuel deal), how you pay for your bills (monthly or quarterly), meter type and either your average usage or the amount you currently pay – you only have to provide an estimate if you don’t know the exact details and you can enter a weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual figure.

    You are also asked how you would like to pay (monthly direct debit is the cheapest option) and what types of products you would like to compare (All, green, capped/fixed or internet only)

    The quick search will ask for details of your current gas and electricity providers but you won’t be asked information on how much you are currently paying or how much energy you use – instead you are asked whether you are a low, medium or high user.

  • STEP 3: Our calculator then does all the hard work for you and sorts through all the deals on offer from UK energy providers. It will rank them in a results table with the cheapest at the top. The table also shows the estimated saving you could make by switching to that deal, details of the tariff, a customer rating and access to customer reviews.

  • STEP 4: Once you’ve decided which deal you want to go for, you complete a secure application form which is automatically sent to your chosen supplier.

    Your new provider will contact your existing supplier or suppliers and arrange the transfer. You will then be sent written confirmation and be informed of the date the transfers will take place. The switching process normally takes four to six weeks.

  • STEP 5: Once the transfer has occurred your new provider will ask you for a gas and electricity meter reading which it will pass on to your old provider so you can be sent a final bill.

If you have been paying by direct debit, you may find your account is in credit in which case the amount you are owed will be debited back to your current account. However, be warned – you could also be in debt in which case you will have to pay anything you owe.

Disclaimer: Please note that any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.

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