Money Matters episode 14 - Switching energy provider in seven days

Been knocked sideways by a big energy bill? Clare Francis, our editor-in-chief explains how you could soon switch to a cheaper supplier in just seven days…

Hello and welcome to Money Matters, I’m Clare Francis and this week we’re going to look at energy switching.

As we all know energy prices have rocketed in recent years and last year’s price hikes seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for many people with 3.5m households having switched provider in 2013.

However, whilst the majority of switches go through without any problems, it takes around 6 weeks for the process to complete. We recently carried out a survey to ask people about their perceptions and experiences of switching energy provider.

85% said they thought it would happen within 30 days, but in actual fact that was only the case for 47% of people. The majority – 53% - found it took longer – of these 64% were between one and two months, and for 36% of people it took over two months.

Ofgem, the energy regulator is looking to speed up the switching process and judging by the survey and comments we receive from people on our forums, twitter and facebook page, it’s a move that would be welcomed.

Last year, the banking industry changed the rules around switching bank accounts and you can now change your banks in seven working days – and that is guaranteed. Wouldn’t it be great if it was the same with energy providers? I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be so hopefully, we’ll see similar changes in the energy market.

We ran some calculations at MoneySuperMarket and worked out that the long switching process has cost those who switched last year £125m collectively - £35.85 each - because of the time it takes during which consumers continue to pay the higher prices.

It’s not good enough and needs to change. In the meantime though, it is definitely still worth taking action to bring your energy bills down. While 3.5million switched to a cheaper tariff last year, the majority of households have never changed energy provider and are still paying more than they need for their gas and electricity.

You could knock around £300 off your annual bill by moving onto one of the leading fixed rate tariffs currently available.

The simplest way to identify how much you could save and find out which provider has the best value option for you is to use a price comparison site. You can do it and apply for your new tariff in less than 10 minutes. The switch might take longer, but kicking the process off really is that easy.

Make changing energy provider the thing you do today!

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