A guide to switching energy provider

Should you switch?

If you want to save money, the simple answer is yes. Ofgem, the energy watchdog, says you could save around £300 a year by shopping around. A report in 2015 by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) found many people don’t switch because they think it will be too stressful. This doesn’t have to be the case.

Visit a price comparison website

A good place to start is a price comparison site. There are plenty out there so make sure you use an Ofgem accredited one. Click here for a list.

It’s worth getting quotes from two or three different comparison sites to make sure you get the best deal.

An easy way to retrieve data about your tariff and consumption quickly and efficiently is by using the QR code on your bill. Large energy suppliers all have to put QR codes on customer bills. You will need a smartphone or tablet and a QR reader app.

The Uswitch app and comparethemarket’s app, Snapt, allow you to scan your QR code. It then presents you with the best comparisons available showing how much you can save.

Don’t just consider price

If price isn’t your only concern, consumer group Which? ranks 22 providers based on a range of factors including customer service, accuracy and clarity of bills as well as value for money. Click here for the table.

Ofgem also publishes customer satisfaction and complaints data for the big six energy suppliers.

Use an energy switching app

Apps like Flipper and Voltz claim to do the hard work for you. By filling in some simple information, the apps will trawl the market for the best deal. Flipper costs £25 per year but it compares the best deals for you throughout the year and does the switch. Voltz is free but you have to make the switch yourself.

You can still switch if you’re in debt to your supplier

If you’ve been in debt to your provider for less than 28 days, you can switch. Whatever you owe will be added to your final bill. But if you’ve been in debt for over 28 days, you’ll need to repay what you owe first.

You can also switch if you use a prepayment meter as long as you owe less than £500 for gas and £500 for electricity.

The switch should not go wrong but you can change your mind

The switch should take place within 21 days and there should be no issues with your supply during the switch-over process. Many of the large energy providers have signed up to the Energy Switching Guarantee, which is designed to put consumers’ minds at ease. Look out for the guarantee logo when looking for a new provider and you’ll know that the switch will be dealt with by the supplier you are moving to.

If you change your mind you have a 14 day cooling off period to cancel a switch from the first day of your new contract. After this period exit fees may apply.

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