Electricity and gas prices are predicted to continue to rise in the coming months, due primarily to increasing costs and legislation. While it might seem like a hassle to switch suppliers, the reality is that it’s very easy, and that most of the challenging work is handled by your new supplier.
If you’re one of the many people who’ve experienced the shock of receiving an extortionate bill, you’ll always be on the lookout for ways to reduce your usage, and the final price you pay. Depending on where you live in the UK, energy prices can vary considerably. Therefore, it is always wise to take a few minutes to figure out which energy supplier is the best one for you and your needs.
Recent studies have shown that some people pay a staggering £750 more for their energy than others. In light of this shocking statistic, we plan to outline the best ways to switch your energy supplier so that you can take advantage of the best deals on the market today.
Switching Effectively: All You Need to Know
While switching suppliers is one way to save money, by reducing the amount of money you pay to buy energy, you can also take advantage of implementing some savvy, energy saving strategies which will reduce your energy usage, and save you some serious cash. Visit our Energy Saving Tips page for more inspiration.
There are some energy providers who are signatories to the energy switch guarantee, which aims to make sure consumers experience a hassle-free switching process – if you are concerned about potential annoyances, then make sure your new energy supplier has ratified the agreement. You can check the website here.
Some of the commitments signatory companies make include: agreements that your energy supply will not be interrupted, you will not be charged a switching fee, that no home visit will be required unless agreed to, and that you will not be required to contact your old supplier to tell them that you’re leaving.
Energy Debts and Exit Fees
Before you begin the process of searching for a better deal, you’ll want to make yourself aware of certain exceptions which might preclude you from switching providers. Some of these exceptions include being tied to a provider through a locked in contract – these can last for a set number of years, and if you leave early you’ll be required to pay an exit fee.
It is best to make sure you aren’t in debt to your current supplier, as if this is the case, it makes things a little more difficult. You will be relieved to know that most energy companies let you switch even if you owe them, but there will be certain terms that you need to fulfil in order to successfully switch your supplier if this scenario is applicable to you.
It usually depends on how long you haven’t paid your old supplier for. If it has been more than 28 days since you were due to pay them, you might encounter some problems in switching providers.
Get in touch with your current supplier to check what options are available, and which of these is most convenient for both you and your supplier.
Find the Best Supplier For You and Your Needs
Once you’ve established that these don’t apply to you, you can initiate the process by visiting a tariff comparison website such as MyEnergy. These sites offer an unbiased way to compare your current energy providers tariffs, with those of the competition, and establish whether you will save money by switching to another supplier with more competitive rates.
After deciding which factors are important for you, you can then proceed to the pricing comparison stage. In order to make best use of such sites, you’ll need a few simple details to hand:
- The name of your current energy supplier
- Your energy usage in kilowatt hours (kWh) – you’ll find this on your most recent bill
- Your post code
- The name of your current energy offer
- An up-to-date meter reading
- Your bank details
- Your Meter Point Access Number (MPAN) and Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN)
All of this information is usually found on your latest energy bill. So, if you’re able to find a copy of this, it will make comparing prices much easier. You should also make sure your latest bill isn’t an estimate, but rather a real reading – this will increase the reliability of your pricing comparison.
With all this information handy, you can begin to make some essential comparisons.
Comparing Deals: Top Tips and Tricks
The process of comparing energy providers involves an atypical step-by-step process; there’s no hard and fast rules, as everyone uses energy differently. You’ll want to think about what is important to you as a consumer. Is it finding the absolute cheapest deal, or is your top priority sourcing an buy energy provider who is environmentally friendly?
It’s also important to understand each energy supplier’s different tariffs. If you want the cheapest price, then consider a fixed tariff. Each supplier gives them a different name, but they are basically the same thing. The price of your energy will be fixed for the duration of your contract, so you might be required to sign a contract if you decide to press ahead with this deal.
If flexibility is more important, or you just don’t want to be locked into any long-term contracts, then a supplier’s standard tariff is likely to appeal. They might be a little more expensive, but they give you the freedom to leave without being penalised by exit fees, should you wish to switch before your contract comes to an end.
Finally, if environmentally friendly energy is a consideration you’d like to make when choosing your supplier, you can elect to go with what are generally called ‘green tariffs.’ Your energy will be generated from renewable energy sources, such as wind power.
Make That Switch Today!
With all these considerations in mind, you can then proceed to analyse energy suppliers’ pricing plans and range of tariffs. You’ll need to specify your postal code, and then select whether you’d like to compare Gas and Electricity, or just one of these options in detail.
After this, you will then be required to enter your current energy usage information. This can be entered in the form of Kilowatt usage per year. This is required for both your gas and electricity usage.
If you’re unsure on how much energy you’ve used, you can estimate this using the ‘usage calculator.’ You’ll then be presented with your energy supplier comparison chart, enabling you to quickly discern which tariff would be right for you, and most cost-effective in respect of your particular needs.
After selecting your new energy supplier, you can either call them directly to complete the transfer over the telephone, or simply do it online. You’ll be asked to enter your banking and meter details – by supplying this information, your new supplier will be able to contact your old supplier to arrange a final meter reading.
If you are in credit with your old supplier, you should be refunded, but you’ll want to check your account to make sure this happens. A follow up with your old provider is always advisable to make sure you get your money back.
Whilst the energy switch is in process, you won’t be required to re-wire your home or existing plumbing. This means that there is no significant downtime. Consumers need not worry, as there will be no interruption at all to your supply whatsoever – the only difference will be your lower energy costs.
In order to avoid any confusion between suppliers, you should supply both your new, and current energy suppliers, with your meter reading. It generally takes up to 21 days for a transfer to go through. Your new supplier will confirm your transfer date. If it takes any longer, you can make enquiries, or even make a formal complaint.
If after all this, you end up changing your mind, you are given a grace period of 14 days to change your mind, and cancel the switch. This also applies to verbal agreements so, if you are in two minds about your decision, get in contact with your new supplier, and let them know. If you try to cancel after this grace period, you may incur a cancellation fee.