Time to take advantage of faster energy switching

Energy firms have cut in half the time it takes to switch suppliers. Consumers can now start saving on their energy bills after 17 days, down from 35 days or even longer last year.

Happy Valentine!

This is great news – it means if you switch this week, you could be enjoying lower prices before the middle of February, when we’ll still be in the depths of winter.

Anyone on their supplier’s standard variable rate tariff could probably make big savings – we’re talking around £200 or more – by switching to a leading fixed rate tariff.

There are still savings to be made if you are a regular switcher, as new, more keenly price fixed tariffs are appearing regularly. Customers can now fix for under £920 a year.

Energy Best buy table

Top 10 Energy Deals - based on a medium consumption of 13,500 kWh Gas, 3,200 kWh Electricity

Provider Tariff Rate Type Average Bill End date Exit fee
Extra Energy Fresh Fixed Price Jan 2016 v8 Fixed £918.48 31/01/2016 £25 per fuel
Extra Energy Clear Fixed Price March 2016 v3 Fixed £918.72 31/03/2016 £25 per fuel
First-utility iSave Fixed v44 March 2016 Fixed £919.49 1 Year £30 per fuel
Ovo Energy Better Energy Fixed (Online) (NOTE - Not Scottish Hydro) Fixed £920.11 1 Year £30 per fuel
Extra Energy Bright Fixed Price Jan 2016 v8 Fixed £924.72 31/03/2016 £25 per fuel
Scottish Power Online Fixed Price January 2016 Fixed £930.03 29/02/2016 NA
Green Star Energy Rate Saver 12 Months Fixed version 1501 Paperless Fixed £931.06 1 Year £30 per fuel
E.On Fixed 1 year v14 Fixed £932.99 1 Year £5 per fuel
Co-operative Energy Fair and Square March 2016 v2 Fixed £944.00 31/03/2016 NA
Npower Fixed Energy Online April 2016 Fixed £962.66 30/04/2016 NA
Sourced by MoneySuperMarket 20.01.2015
Prices quoted are for tariffs with bills sent by post. ‘Paperless’ versions of tariffs, where available, may be cheaper

Industry action

The ‘big six’ energy firms – British Gas, EDF, E.On, nPower, Scottish Power and SSE – have all agreed to speedier switching, although Scottish Power’s systems will not be up and running until the end of January.

Smaller suppliers such as First Utility and Ecotricity also offer faster switching and many others are due to implement quicker processes later in the year.

At the last count, nine of the 26 suppliers will process a switch in 17 days, but it’s worth checking the details with each energy firm when you’re thinking about a switch.

Prompt start

It’s now quicker to switch largely because the process begins as soon as you press the ‘Go’ button, confirming you want to switch.

Previously, suppliers did nothing for the first 14 days to allow for the cooling-off period. However, the change does not your statutory rights. You can still cancel at any time during the first 14 days.
 
The government has been pushing the industry to speed up switching times since October 2013. It is pleased with the result, but wants the industry to move even faster.

Suppliers are in fact expected to cut switching times to 24 hours as soon as possible, supported by the roll out of ‘smart meters’, which will communicate directly with the energy provider using wireless technology.

Easier switching

The government also wants consumers to make the most of the changes. Ed Davey, secretary of state for energy and climate change, says: “We’ve introduced more competition in the energy market and made it much quicker for people to switch energy supplier.

“Industry is delivering on my challenge so now my challenge is for more consumers to take advantage. There’s never been a better time to shop around, switch and save money faster than ever before.”

More than three million people switched to a cheaper electricity tariff in 2014, according to Energy UK. But a shocking 60% of people have never made a move.

So now it’s up to you. Switching tariff is easy with MoneySuperMarket’s online comparison service – and now it’s quicker, too. What’s your excuse for sticking with your old, expensive tariff?  

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.

* 51% consumers, MoneySuperMarket data, December 2014

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