In recent years, a sudden spike in the prices of wholesale energy has been observed in the United Kingdom. A major attribute of this is the rise in demand after the COVID-19 pandemic, and then the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which ultimately led to a drastic effect on global supplies of gas and oil. As a contagion effect, an energy crisis developed in the United Kingdom. To combat this efficiently, the government introduced the Energy Price Guarantee, which gives an average amount of bills that a typical household must pay. Although many such policies are in process, it is best to manage your expenditure on energy to save money. Our guide here will give you all the appropriate information about energy costs, suppliers, and how and when to switch energy supplier.
When To Switch Energy Supplier?
Increased prices or poor service might make you ask the question ‘When can I switch energy supplier?’ Although choosing the appropriate time to switch your energy suppliers might be tricky, there are some situations where you aren’t left with a choice. For instance, many companies give an added discount or more facilities to new customers to lure them in. However, these deals usually end soon and the consumers are left with higher prices. Sometimes, the economy also shifts in such a way that a sudden increase in prices may be expected. Usually, when one supplier announces a tariff increase, others follow suit. Therefore, most suitable time to switch is before your current deal ends. 49 days before the contract ends, the switching window opens and consumers aren’t charged exit fees during this time. Any of these might be a good time to switch to a cheaper option.
If you’re not on a fixed billing system, your tariff may increase drastically over the course of winter. Most people tend to use a comparatively lesser amount of energy in summer which makes it difficult to get an actual estimate of how much the energy supply would actually cost otherwise. Hence, it’s advisable to compare prices before winter starts. Also, a lot of providers don’t have the option of closing your account if you still owe them a long-term debt. In these cases, you first need to pay off the loan amount if you wish to switch.
The answer to the question ‘when can I change energy supplier?’ – it might not remain a personal choice if you’re moving places. It is the perfect opportunity to actually step back and reassess your needs. Most often, there’s a change in the number of rooms, number of appliances, and even heating systems that could potentially affect your overall usage to a large extent. A sudden change in lifestyle is also a similar opportunity. For instance, if you retire or shift to working from home rather than office, it would mean an increased usage of resources. Also, if a member of the family moves out, that would in turn decrease the usage. These situations are ideal to reanalyse and check new energy suppliers who may be better suited to your changed needs.
Lastly, the decision to switch energy suppliers may not be based on monetary reasons at all. If you wish to choose greener options for your energy supply, it’s always good to check out other suppliers. In case you’re not satisfied with the services provided by your supplier, you might have already gotten the answer to the question of when to switch energy supplier.
You should avoid changing suppliers if you will have to pay a penalty or exit fee to close the ongoing contract, especially if the fee might end up potentially decreasing your supposed savings. However, if you’re considering switching for non-monetary reasons, then this extra charge shouldn’t be an issue. Also, switching suppliers hastily while you’re still in the middle of exploring and analysing better options is certainly not recommended. In case you’re still in doubt, refer to our compilation of some of the best recommendations for energy suppliers in the United Kingdom –
|Company||Total score||Customer score|
What Is The Next Step After Deciding When To Switch Energy Supplier?
There might be several reasons why you might feel the need to switch your energy supplier. The ongoing energy crisis might have forced your regular supplier to shut their business, you may be shifting places, or you may have just found a cheaper option. Ideally, you can change your energy supplier whenever you want. But how to go about the process once you make the decision? First of all, you should take a metre reading, that is, have a record of the energy usage to convey it to the providers. It is essential to analyse the terms and conditions, prices and services offered by the new supplier and make sure you’re comfortable with them.
How To Choose Energy Suppliers?
In this section, we explore some of the main reasons that you should consider while selecting energy suppliers.
Single or dual fuel
Even though most energy suppliers offer both, it’s crucial to check whether a potential energy supplier offers both gas and electricity, known as a dual fuel deal, or if they only provide one of these, known as single fuel. If you pick dual fuel, it has the advantage of dealing with only one supplier, something which is a significant aspect for many households. However, sometimes switching your gas and electricity to two separate suppliers and taking advantage of two different offers saves a ton of money. So, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of either option and then make the most suitable decision for your household.
If you wish to make a positive impact on the environment, then a green energy deal might be the most appropriate one for you. Basically, green energy is generated through renewable sources like wind, solar and biogas. Currently, a considerable part of energy is generated via renewable sources and the figures are set to increase in the future. Hence, considering green energy deals before finalising your supplier is essential.
Researching the customer service properly before committing to any energy supplier is important since you want to ensure that you’ll receive the best services if something goes wrong. Consumers can visit the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) website which publishes statistics every year. These are majorly based on the number of complaints received by each supplier.
Online account access, options for paying bills digitally, and a user-friendly mobile app are some of the most helpful tools that any supplier must offer under its online services. If you’re interested in a particular energy supplier’s app, it might be a good idea to read through the online reviews posted by previous consumers on various digital platforms. This can help you gain a better idea of the app’s functionality and user experience.
The most natural step while researching suppliers is to compare tariffs and estimate the cheapest one. Refer to our list below to get an idea –
|Supplier Name||Tariff Name||Unit Rate (p/kWh)||Standing Charge (p/day)|
|British Gas||Energy Plus Boiler Cover Apr 2023||10.331||52.968|
|EON||Fix Online v46||7.319||41.660|
|EDF Energy||Easy Online Apr23||34||28|
|npower||Go Fix Apr 2023||19.340||37.50|
|ScottishPower||Super Saver April 2023 Online||16.570||41.92|
|Octopus Energy||Flexible Octopus||35||44.71|
|OVO Energy||Better Smart||15.35||25.92|
|Outfox the Market||FIX’D 21 15.0||10.462||25|
How To Switch Energy Suppliers?
Once you decide when to switch energy supplier, the next question is how to do it. Switching energy providers takes a maximum of 21 days due to the Energy Switch Guarantee (ESG), which is a government-based scheme. The new provider is required to provide you with an expected date of when the switch will be finalised. For changing your energy providers, all you need to know is your current bill, current supplier and a few evidence documents like proof of address and postcode. There are a few simple steps to switch your provider –
- Search for an old bill in order to get the most precise quote since you will be required to give information about your current usage and tariff.
- Obtain a new quote from the energy supplier as to how much change there will be in the pricing and services. Compare this data to analyse if you can actually save enough money in the switchover.
- Begin the process of switching by following the instructions of the energy supplier. This may take some time and you might be asked to provide the metre readings to your new supplier frequently, during the period of finalising the switch.
- Clear all dues or pending bills from your last supplier to ensure a smooth switchover. In case you’ve already paid in excess, make sure you obtain a refund.
When To Switch Energy Supplier If You’re Moving?
As aforementioned, moving and shifting houses is the perfect opportunity to scrutinise your bills and services, and switch energy suppliers. Ideally, the consumer is required to notify the supplier at least two days before the move. Once you’ve shifted places, take a metre reading in your new house and send it to your existing energy provider. In case you’re continuing with your old provider, you just need to intimate them about your changed address and the date of the move.
Irrespective of whether you’ve changed your provider or not, it is advisable to take a metre reading before you leave your previous home and submit it to the existing supplier. This way, you can avoid paying any excess bill that may be charged after you leave the property.
You can consider switching energy suppliers even if you’re just a tenant. The landlords usually have a suggestion of their preferred suppliers in the rental agreement, but you can still make the decision based on personal research of the market. Although, it is to be noted that if your energy bills go via your landlord, you won’t be able to switch directly and will have to ask him to change the suppliers for you.
What happens when you switch energy supplier but then change your mind? In such a situation, you can still revert back. Owing to a legal requirement, all consumers are provided with a 14-day cooling off period for this exact reason. The period begins from the day you agree to a contract.
1. Should I fix my energy prices until 2023?
You should only fix your energy prices if a cheaper source of tariff can be found. As of now, the market is incredibly competitive and it might be tough to find a provider with cheaper rates and better services.
2. Which month is the best to switch energy suppliers?
During months with moderate weather, suppliers usually offer lower deals and cheaper contracts as many people consider switching their energy suppliers. Hence, the best months to change your provider are between late September and Halloween, and between late March and early May.
3. What happens when you switch energy?
Most of the process is taken care of between the old and new companies. As a consumer, you will be asked to take a metre reading around the day of the switch, which will be used to calculate the final bill with your old supplier.
4. Which are some of the top energy suppliers?
In 2023, British Gas, EDF Energy, Octopus Energy, Scottish Power and Shell Energy are some of the top energy suppliers in the UK.
5. Which household items use the maximum energy?
Cooling or heating systems, followed by water heaters and washers/dryers utilise the maximum amount of energy.
Thank you for reading our guide on when to switch energy supplier! Leave your queries in the comment section below.
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