What are the most important things to consider when switching energy supplier?

Looking to switch to a new provider for your gas and electricity? Here’s some things to think about before making the move

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With energy prices set to rise as a result of lockdown restrictions being eased, you may be thinking about moving to a new energy supplier to get a better deal.

This is particularly important if you are currently on your provider’s standard variable tariff (SVT) – the ‘default’ rate you go on to once your fixed deal ends.

SVTs can be costly, meaning you may well be paying over the odds.

Surely I should just sign up to the cheapest deal?

If you’re looking to switch, your main priority may be signing up to the cheapest tariff you can find.

But while cost is an important factor when moving to a new provider, you shouldn’t look at this in isolation.

Savings on your bill are important, but be wary about opting for the very cheapest tariff until you’ve done a bit of research.

Check out customer service

Remember the cheapest energy deal isn’t always the best – and especially if it means compromising on customer service.

The best approach is to check the reviews to see what people say about issues such as how easy it is to contact the firm, and transparency of bills.

You may decide it’s worth paying a little bit more for a supplier with a proven track record of keeping customers happy and delivering a decent service.

The good news is, there are plenty of firms with both good ratings and cheap prices.

Look at the green credentials

When choosing a new provider, it’s also worth noting that ‘going green’ doesn’t need to cost the earth.

While green tariffs may not be the very cheapest on offer, you should be able to find a reasonably priced renewable tariff which comes in cheaper than the price cap (more below).

Equally, some suppliers might appear more costly, but might offer perks, such as an option to offset your carbon footprint.

If ‘doing your bit’ matters to you, these deals may be worth a look.

Find out if the supplier offers a ‘dual fuel tariff’

With a ‘dual fuel’ tariff, you get both gas and electricity from the same provider. This may be an appealing feature when searching for a new provider, as you’ll only have bills from one supplier to deal with – making it easier to manage and control your energy account.

At the same time, this type of tariff can often be cheaper than having two separate, single tariffs. In some cases, you may even get a cashback perk per dual fuel switch.

That said, don’t assume a ‘dual fuel tariff’ will always be cheaper. Do your sums first.

Enquire about ‘exit fees’

Another thing you should check out before making the switch is whether or not the new supplier has ‘exit fees.’ These are fees levied for leaving a deal early – and can be as high as £60 for those on a dual-fuel tariff.

While you might prefer the idea of a tariff which doesn’t come with exit fees, don’t automatically discount a deal which does, as you may well find the savings outweigh the fee.

Also note that if you don’t end up leaving early, you’ll be able to avoid the penalty altogether.

Once again, the key is to do the maths.

How much could you save by switching?

Right now, you may be able to save £290* on your energy bills by moving to a fixed-rate deal.

Won’t the new price cap save me money?

The price cap affects the maximum amount providers can charge on standard tariffs, with the aim of protecting consumers from paying too much on an SVT.

The cap currently stands at £1,127. However, on August 7, energy regulator Ofgem announced that the cap will drop to £1,042 a year from October 1 for someone with typical usage. This £84 fall has been driven by lower wholesale energy costs following Covid-19.

But what you need to bear in mind is that while the cap is expected to keep costs down for consumers on the most costly deals, you’ll still end up paying way above the odds if you stay on a default tariff than if you switch to one of the many cheaper fixed-rate deals.

In short, even with a drop in the price cap, if you’re on an SVT, it still makes good sense to switch.

How do I go about switching?

If you do want to find a better deal, the process is quick and easy. Simply head here, and provide information such as your postcode, your current supplier, your existing tariff, and details about your energy usage.

Once you’ve done this, you will be presented with a list of tariffs. You can then click on each one to find out more about what’s on offer – to help you choose the right one for you.

Having made your choice, your work is done, as your supplier then handles the switching process.

And there’s no need to worry about disruption to your energy supplier, as there’s no service stoppage –  and no risk of being left without gas or electricity. All providers use the same pipes and wires, meaning you can carry on as normal.

Make use of MoneySuperMarket’s Energy Monitor

Switching can be made even quicker and easier if you sign up to our Energy Monitor alerts when you run a quote. Simply select how much you’d like to save, and we will automatically let you know when there is a deal available with the requested savings.

Ends

*51% of customers that applied to switch via MoneySuperMarket saved at least £286.50, June 2020

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