Even if you’ve switched previously, it’s likely there could still be hefty savings available.
But you might be put off switching because you think it’s a complicated, drawn-out hassle that’s just not worth the bother.
But you should think again. Switching suppliers is straightforward, and you should be on your new tariff – and saving money – within just 17 days (thanks to a government drive to crunch down switching times).
And if you don't fancy spending ages checking tariffs online, don't worry - it takes as little as 5.2 minutes to switch energy tariff with MoneySuperMarket*
So here’s our back to basics guide to changing energy providers – including some of the biggest myths debunked.
Energy switching myths
- You’ll need new pipes/wires
Switching doesn’t involve any new pipes, wires or meters being changed or installed. No-one will need to visit your home. All you need to do is compare tariffs online, pick the best deal, sign up for it, and your new supplier will arrange the switch for you.
- There’ll be an interruption to your supply
You won’t have your power turned off when the switch takes place, even for a minute. Your current supplier will carry on providing you with power until the day of the switch, right up until the moment that your new provider takes over. It’s a seamless operation that won’t even cause a flicker in your lightbulbs.
- It takes ages to do it
It used to take five or six weeks to change energy suppliers, but since 2016, suppliers have made switching much faster. It now only takes three days to move energy suppliers, plus a 14 day cooling off period, so that’s 17 days in total.
- It’s too complicated
You don’t need to spend hours ringing round suppliers to get quotes. You can compare tariffs online and initiate the switch in a matter of moments.
- The savings aren’t worth the bother
If you’ve never switched energy suppliers, then you’ll probably be on your supplier’s most expensive standard tariff. Research by MoneySuperMarket found that moving from the traditional energy supplier in your area could save you over £200 a year if you use an average amount of energy over the course of the year.
All you need to start the switching process is the name of your current energy tariff, how much you spent on energy in the last year and how you currently pay for your energy.
"Once you’ve signed up to the deal you want, your new supplier should sort out the actual switch on your behalf..."
How to switch
You can find all this information on your latest energy bill or annual statement.
Before switching, find out if you owe your existing provider any money. If you do, you’ll usually have to pay this off before you can switch to a new supplier.
You should also check whether there are any exit fees which apply when you leave your current deal. If there are, check when they finish and switch then.
Once you’ve got the details you need, compare tariffs to find the most competitive deals to suit your needs.
Only compare quotes on sites which abide by energy regulator Ofgem’s ‘Confidence Code’ (such as MoneySuperMarket). This means they can be trusted as a source of information when you are looking at different deals and tariffs.
The cheapest deals are often dual fuel deals, where you get both your gas and electricity from the same supplier. But it’s worth checking single, separate tariffs for gas and electricity as the combined price might be less than a dual fuel offer.
Think carefully about whether you want to go for a fixed tariff, or a variable deal. Fixed tariffs can be a bit more expensive that variable deals at the start, but your bills won’t suddenly increase during the term of the deal.
Give some thought to how you’ll pay your bills. There’s usually a discount if you sign up to pay your bills by direct debit rather than cheque, and if you manage your account online, with no paper communications.
Once you’ve signed up to the deal you want, your new supplier should sort out the actual switch on your behalf. You will probably ask be asked for a meter reading so jot this down so you have it to hand.
If you’re renting
If you pay your energy bills, rather than your landlord, and your name is on the bill then you are free to move suppliers, but it’s usually a good idea to let your landlord know that you plan to do this.
Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.
(*Average journey time 5.2 minutes, MoneySuperMarket data, May 2015)