By nickihodgson - posted on January 28, 2020

Energy Advisor Switches Supplier

One of our energy advisors was inspired by our New Year’s Resolutions and Citizen’s Advice Big Energy Saving Week this month to switch their own energy supplier. Read about her experience of switching below.

Price comparison

The first step to switching is a price comparison. We always recommend using an Ofgem accredited price comparison site or the Citizen’s Advice tool which includes a customer service rating.

To do a price comparison I needed:

  • My postcode
  • The name of my current supplier
  • The name of my current tariff
  • The average monthly cost (£) or yearly usage (kWh) of my gas and electricity

There were a few other options for me to consider, like how I wanted to pay, whether I wanted a green tariff and if I was eligible for the Warm Home Discount. I chose online, paperless billing, paying by direct debit and a green tariff. Once I had entered my information, I got a list of all the suppliers and tariffs available to me, and the cost savings showed I could save around £180/year by switching.

Green tariffs

There are more green tariffs available than ever before and an increasing percentage of the UK’s electricity supply comes from renewables. By choosing a green tariff I want to send a message to my supplier and the energy industry that I don’t want electricity from fossil fuels.

Some green tariffs directly fund renewable electricity generation in the UK; others buy “offset” certificates which doesn’t necessarily increase demand for renewables. Read more about this in this Energy Saving Trust article.

The gas we use for heating and hot water is much harder to make renewable, so isn’t usually covered in a green tariff, although some suppliers are investing in greener gas or give you the option to offset.

Switching process

Once I picked a new supplier, I contacted them to let them know I wanted to switch. They will liaise with my current/old supplier. The best supplier for me is not necessarily the best supplier for you – for impartial advice about your options, please ask an advisor.

It can take up to 21 days to switch, and you have 14 days to cancel if you change your mind. I will need to send meter readings when the switchover happens – my new supplier will let me know when to do this – and then I will need to pay my final bill to my current/old supplier. And that is it, simple!

Things to think about when switching

  • How do you want to pay: online or paper billing, direct debit or quarterly bill.
  • If you’re eligible for the Warm Home Discount, check if your new supplier offers it, especially if you’re part of the Broader Group. If you’ve already applied, consider waiting to switch until you get the payment through.
  • Does your current tariff have an early exit fee? If you’re going to be charged to leave early, maybe wait until your fixed term is finished. You won’t be charged exit fees if you’re within the last 49 days of your contract.
  • Are you in any debt on your energy account? If you’re on a prepayment meter you can still switch to a new supplier if you owe less than £500 per fuel. If you’re on a credit meter, you may need to pay off your debt before you can switch.
  • If you’re a tenant you should be able to switch supplier if you pay the bills, but do check your tenancy agreement. We suggest letting your landlord know out of courtesy.
  • Smart meters may pose compatibility issues when switching supplier (you may lose functionality), but you can still switch. Not all suppliers are offering smart meters yet so if you want a smart meter, it’s worth checking if your new supplier offers them.

Learn more ways to save money on energy bills or call us on Freephone 0800 804 8601 for more tailored advice.