If you owe money to your current energy supplier and are not on a prepayment meter, you can still switch as long as you haven’t received a bill or owed the money for more than 28 days.
The outstanding amount will be added to your final bill after the switch. Meanwhile, if you’re on prepayment meters, switching is possible if the debt is less than £500 for either gas or electricity.
To do this, you have to inform your new supplier about the situation, allowing them to transfer the debt using the Debt Assignment Protocol.
Step-by-Step Guide to Switching Energy Suppliers
Switching energy suppliers is generally a straightforward process. You only need to spend a few hours of research on your part and an average waiting time of around three weeks.
That said, here’s how the process goes:
Find Out How Much You’re Paying Your Current Supplier
To effectively compare energy deals, you have to know your current tariff details, including estimated annual use, unit rate, and daily standing charge. You can find this information on your latest bill.
If you have different suppliers for gas and electricity, consider both sets of figures when searching for deals.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a recent bill, contact your current supplier(s) to request the necessary details. If you’re unsure about your suppliers, you can find this information online.
This is essential for making informed decisions when comparing and switching energy deals.
Look for Deals
When selecting a new energy supplier, make sure you rely on price comparison sites displaying the Ofgem Confidence Code hallmark. This signifies adherence to standards of independence, transparency, accuracy, and reliability.
Understanding your current tariff’s details allows you to search for a better deal. For unique tariffs like Economy 7 or Economy 10, confirm compatibility with your new provider, especially if you have a switching or prepayment meter.
Smart meter users should check compatibility and inquire about potential replacements. Beyond headline rates, consider the standing charge, as minor differences can accumulate over the contract period.
Explore eco-friendly options for a more sustainable choice. Consult customer reviews and ratings, including those from Citizens Advice, to gauge the supplier’s overall performance.
Get in Touch with Your New Supplier
Switching energy suppliers is a straightforward process. Before you initiate the switch, make sure you contact your current supplier to see if they can match the new rate.
Be aware that some offers might be introductory rates for new customers. If you proceed with the switch, sign up with the new supplier online or by phone.
The new supplier will then handle the switch on your behalf, and the process typically takes around three weeks, with no interruption to your gas or electricity supply.
If you switch before your current contract expires, there might be an exit fee, but Ofgem prohibits exit fees within the last 49 days of a contract. While these fees are usually modest (often less than £50), confirm the amount beforehand.
In some cases, the new supplier may offer to cover the exit fee.
Once the switch is complete, your old supplier should send a final bill within six weeks, including any refund if your account was in credit. Energy UK aims for suppliers to issue 90% of refunds within 10 working days.
Generally, the process of switching energy suppliers is smooth, but issues may still arise due to discrepancies in national network records, particularly in meter assignments to properties.
Suppliers use street addresses for billing but rely on Meter Point Reference Numbers (MPRNs) for gas and Meter Point Administration Numbers (MPANs) for electricity to identify meters.
Accuracy in assigning these numbers to properties is crucial. If inaccuracies occur, a supplier might mistakenly assume your neighbour’s supply, referencing the street address instead of the MPRN or MPAN.
For this one, you want to locate your MPRN on your gas meter and MPAN on your electricity meter. Incorrect records can be rectified by the relevant network operators upon your supplier’s request.