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How to switch gas and electricity supplier

If you’re on a variable tariff, switching to a fixed rate tariff might protect you against future energy price rises. Find out how to switch your energy supplier. 

How to save money on your energy bills

Follow these four tips to start making savings.

1. Ask about better deals

You don’t have to switch. But it’s worth calling your current supplier instead to see if you can pay less.

Find out if you can pay by Direct Debit? Opt for paperless bills? Or move to a cheaper tariff?

If you’re on a variable tariff you should consider moving to a fixed rate tariff that will protect you against future energy price rises.

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Simple steps could lead to big savings. But beware – ask about any exit penalties if you decide to switch to another supplier afterwards. Then see if you can get a better deal somewhere else.

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2. Know what you have

It’s worth finding your gas and electricity bills. Then check who supplies your gas and electricity. And find out the name of your tariff. Try to find out how much energy you use each year.

If you usually get a Warm Home Discount, make sure the supplier you’re switching to offers the discount.

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3. Get on the comparison sites

Using a price comparison website can help you to find the best energy deal to suit your circumstances.

Ofgem has a list of price comparison sites that it has accredited. However, be aware that most price comparison sites will ‘hide’ from their search results any tariffs or energy companies that don’t pay them to be shown. This means that you might not see the cheapest tariffs you could get.

MoneySavingExpert and Which? have their own ‘energy switching clubs’ that won’t hide any tariffs or energy companies from your results so it’s worth looking at these before using the Ofgem-accredited price comparison sites.

As a bonus, for many tariffs, the energy switching club will hold your hand through the whole process, from filling in details from your current energy bill, to searching the whole of market to find a better deal for you and liaising with your chosen new supplier to carry out the switch.

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You can also check the Ofgem-accredited price comparison sites on the Ofgem website

What is the difference between fixed and variable tariffs?

You’ll need to choose between fixed and variable tariffs.

A fixed tariff gives you the peace of mind. This is because the price you pay for each unit of energy, and any standing charges, won’t change for a set period.

You get protection if prices go up – but you don’t benefit in the unlikely event of prices going down.

You might also have to pay an exit fee if you want to switch suppliers before the end of your deal.

Comparison websites will want to know how much energy you use, whether in pounds spent or kilowatts (kwh) used.

If you don’t know, they can make a rough guess based on the size of your house, how many people live there, and the appliances you use.

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4. On a prepayment meter?

If you have a pre-pay meter, you can still switch.

None of the big six energy companies charge to change prepayment meters over to credit meters, which tend to be cheaper.

They will probably run a credit check on you though and your energy account will need to be debt free.

If you want, or have to stick with, a pre-payment meter – you can still check to see if there’s a cheaper deal you can switch to. 

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Things to check before you switch

Get reading

It’s worth reading your gas and electricity meter and checking them against your latest bills.

Make sure your bills are right by submitting new readings to your supplier. This should only take a few minutes, online or by phone.

Understand how the energy price cap will affect your bills

Energy prices are rising. The Government introduced a cap on a standard energy tariff of £1,277 a year on 1 October (£1,309 if you’re on a standard prepayment meter), but this cap will be reviewed in April 2022 and could go up.

The energy price cap only affects you if you live in England, Wales or Scotland. In Northern Ireland your energy prices are governed by the Utility Regulator (instead of Ofgem). Find out more about the help available to you for paying your energy bills on the Consumer Council website

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Use less energy

As well as switching energy supplier to get lower bills, read our guide on how to save money on gas and electricity bills

Make the most of the whole market

On the comparison websites, tick the option to compare the whole market – not just the suppliers that pay a fee to the website.

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Rent your home?

You can still switch. If your name is on the bill, you can switch gas and electricity bills.

You don’t need to ask permission from your landlord, but it’s a good idea to let them know. It’s worth checking your tenancy agreement – and talk to your landlord if there’s anything in it that says you can’t switch.

It’s not just about the price

Before switching, find what information you can about a company’s customer service.

Some comparison sites include customer service ratings in their comparison tables.

Which? and Citizen’s Advice have a customer satisfaction survey about what customers really think. These are worth checking – before you decide who you go with.

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How to complain about your energy provider

If you’ve got a complaint, contact your energy provider first. Your supplier’s phone number and website will be on your energy bill.

Explain what the problem is and what you want your supplier to do about it. You can use free template complaints letters from the Citizens Advice website (Opens in a new window)

Energy suppliers will then have up to eight weeks to come to tell you about their decision on the complaint.

If you can’t reach an agreement with your supplier after eight weeks, you can ask for a “deadlock letter”, which lets you to take your case to the free Energy Ombudsman.

The Energy Ombudsman will then decide which party it agrees with and how to resolve the issue.

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Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free, impartial help for all your money and pension choices. Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free, impartial help for all your money and pension choices. Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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