It's time to compare electricity
If you’re looking for a new electricity deal, you’re not alone: 319,000 electricity customers switched energy supplier during January 2018, according to OFGEM**. Shopping around for the best electricity deal is simpler than you might think – but there are bound to be a few questions. Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about comparing electricity deals.
What information do I need to compare electricity prices?
Pretty much all the information you need to compare or even switch suppliers can be found on your last electricity bill or in your online account. This includes:
- who your current provider is
- which tariff you’re on
- how you pay for energy
- your usage (per month or year/ in pounds or kWh)
- the date of the bill you’re using
Use our [understanding your energy bill guide[<link to: https://www.comparethemarket.com/energy/information/understanding-your-bill/> to find this information. If you don’t have a bill handy, you can still do a slightly-less-accurate comparison based on your answers to our questions to give you an idea of what’s available.
What do I have to do when I switch electricity supplier?
The great thing about switching is that almost all the work is done for you. The hardest part is making the decision to switch in the first place. If you’re new to switching though, you’re not alone. In 2017, Energy Secretary Greg Clark admitted he’d never done it.
You’ll be pleased to know that, once you’ve made your decision, your new supplier will handle almost everything. They’ll tell your existing supplier you’re leaving and then work out the day of the changeover with them.
You’ll receive all your correspondence via email or in the post, confirming your new tariff and payment details – you just need to make sure it’s all correct. You also get a 14-day cooling off period, so if you change your mind – it’s OK.
On the day of the switch, you’ll need to take a meter reading for your old supplier, so they can send you a final bill.
Find a great new tariff and complete the process online or through our advisors, and we’ll do the rest.
Why should I switch electricity?
Switching electricity supplier could shave pounds off your bills. But it’s not always about how much hard cash you could save. You might be fed up with poor customer service, you might want greater visibility of your usage through an app or you might want to choose your supplier based on their green credentials, or whether they supply a smart meter.
What is a dual fuel tariff and do I need one?
Dual fuel is where one energy provider supplies both your gas and your electricity.
Getting gas and electricity from one supplier could save you money, and it’s usually more convenient to be billed by one provider rather than two. It means less paperwork and if there’s a problem, you only need to contact one supplier. Find out more in our Dual fuel energy guide
I’m a tenant. Can I switch electricity supplier?
Usually, yes.One exception is tenants whose landlords pay their bills for them. If you have all-inclusive bills or your landlord re-bills you for your energy use, they choose the supplier. You can ask them to change it, but they’re not under any obligation.
If your landlord has a preferred energy supplier, you have the right to switch during your tenancy, but they might ask you to switch back when you move out.
I’m on a fixed-rate contract. Can I still switch?
If you’re on a fixed rate tariff with your current supplier, check to see if there’s an exit fee for leaving the contract early. If there is, you’ll need to factor this cost into your price comparison as it could swallow up some of the potential savings. If you can supply your tariff name when you get a quote, we can take your tariff into account when showing you the savings you could make.
It’s worth noting that you can switch for free with no exit fee 42-49 days before the end of your contract. Under Ofgem’s standards of conduct, energy firms have to give you between 42 and 49 days’ notice of your tariff ending. You can use this time to decide whether to stick with them, or switch. If you decide to switch, you won’t be charged an exit fee.
What about switching with a pre-payment meter?
You can switch if you have a pre-payment meter, whether you rent or not. If you are a tenant and you change suppliers, your landlord might ask you to change back at the end of your tenancy.
I think I need business electricity. Can you help?
Absolutely. Switching domestic and business electricity work in a pretty similar way. See our [guide to buying and switching business electricity] < https://www.comparethemarket.com/energy/business/electricity/>
I have solar panels. Can I switch my feed-in-tariff (FIT) too?
You’re free to switch suppliers, but since it’s industry regulator Ofgem that sets the prices for feed-in-tariffs, switching won’t necessarily affect price. Different suppliers may provide better levels of customer service, though.
The supplier that makes your FIT payments doesn’t have to be the same one that provides you with energy, so you can switch either one without affecting the other.
Will my electricity be cut if I switch supplier?
No, and there’s an Energy switch guarantee to make sure of it.
Regardless of who provides your electricity, it comes into your home through the same wires and cables, so there’s no messing about with equipment. Even on switchover day, there should be no disruption to your service.
Am I eligible for Warm Home Discount?
This usually depends on your income and whether you receive a certain type of Pension Credit. Your supplier needs to be part of the discount scheme and your name (or your partner’s) needs to be on the bill.
Find out more about the scheme and how it works in our guide to the Warm Home Discount
Can I get a smart electricity meter from my new supplier?
Smart meters are being rolled out across the country and most households should have one by 2020.
Smart meters transmit your energy use directly to your electricity supplier, so you no longer have to submit readings. Some people think having smart meter will mean you pay more, but this isn’t the case – they just make sure your bill is always accurate. They can also give you real-time information about energy use to help you cut your costs.
Find out more in our Smart meter guide
What is green electricity and can I compare it?
Green electricity comes from renewable sources like sunlight, wind, water, plants and geothermal heat (which comes from the earth’s core). You can check suppliers’ green credentials when you compare.
What are Economy 7 and Economy 10 meters?
Economy 7 and Economy 10 tariffs give you access to different electricity rates during the day and night. If you’re on one of these tariffs, you’ll have a special meter. Economy 7 is known as White Meters in Scotland.
Seven and 10 are the number of hours in the day that are classified as off-peak. Any energy used outside of those times is usually charged at a much higher rate.
Compare quotes in a few clicks
We offer impartial and independent comparison of more than 25 electricity companies, covering both home and business supplies. Just give us a few details about your energy use and current tariff, and we’ll serve up a list of competitive quotes for you to choose from.
**Based on OFGEM Bills, prices and profits data at January