Electricity and gas FAQs

Got questions about how to switch gas or electricity supplier? Take a look at our FAQs and you’ll be clued up and ready to switch and save.

Got questions about how to switch gas or electricity supplier? Take a look at our FAQs and you’ll be clued up and ready to switch and save.

Sofia Hutson
Utilities expert
minute read
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Posted 3 FEBRUARY 2020

Am I paying more than I should for my energy bills?

It can be hard to know if you're paying the right price for your gas and electricity. But don't worry, we can help you find out. Just give us some basic info about your home and your utility bills and we'll give you an energy quote so you can see if you could save.

Switching is a straightforward process – simply pick the deal you prefer on Compare the Market and let us know a few details about your property and the account you want your energy bills to come from. We'll pass your information to your new supplier and they'll handle the switch for you.

You should hear from them within their average switch time and they'll tell you if they need any more information from you. The switch shouldn't take longer than 21 days, thanks to the Energy Switch Guarantee.

You won't need to contact your old supplier, but you might hear from them once they've been made aware you're looking to switch.

On the day of the switch, take meter readings and give them to your new supplier. You'll get a final bill from your supplier if you're in debit, or a refund if you're in credit. Find out more in our guide to switching suppliers.

Do I have to tell my old energy supplier that I’m switching?

No. We’ll let your new supplier know and they’ll get in touch with your old supplier to arrange the switch.

How many times can I swap energy providers?

As many times as you like. But if you’re leaving before your contract is up, check that you won’t be charged an exit fee.

Is it always worth switching energy suppliers?

Sticking with the same supplier is rarely the way to get a good-value deal. Once your fixed deal ends, your supplier will often automatically move you to a standard variable rate tariff (SVR). These tend to be far more expensive, which is why it’s usually a good idea to switch.

But not all of us do. In fact, according to Ofgem, the energy regulator, nearly 60% of us fall back on our suppliers’ standard tariffs instead of switching. That means we could end up paying around £300 a year more than we need to.

Organising switching only takes a few minutes and is one of the easiest ways to save money.

How long does it take to switch energy providers?

Thanks to the Energy Switch Guarantee, it should take no longer than 21 days.

See switching times for different suppliers.

What’s the Energy Switch Guarantee?

It’s a commitment from energy companies to make the switching process easy. That means switching is free, it won’t interrupt your service, and any errors that result in extra charges will be put right at no cost to you. It also means it’s down to your new supplier to tell your old one that you’re leaving, which is one less job for you.

Does switching appliances off rather than leaving them on standby save money?

According to the Energy Saving Trust, you can save £30 a year by turning your appliances off at the wall rather than leaving them on standby.

How can I save money on my energy bill?

There are a few easy ways you may be able to save money on your gas and electricity bills:

  • pay by Direct Debit. This can reduce your bill by around 7%.
  • look into dual fuel options. Having your gas and electricity with the same company can get you a discount. But make sure you compare this against other, separate deals, too.
  • don’t rely on estimated bills. Read your meter – it will give you a more accurate bill.
  • if you’re on a pre-payment meter, swap to another meter if you qualify to do so. You may have to pay to convert it, but you’ll save money in the long run.
  • don’t feel you need to go with a big name. Many of the cheaper energy suppliers are smaller firms that you might not have heard of.

What is a smart meter?

More and more energy companies are offering customers smart meters. These offer a range of benefits.

Smart meters monitor your household’s energy consumption in real time, meaning that you’re accurately billed for what you use. And they can communicate directly with your energy supplier, which means no one needs to come and read your meter. One downside though, is that smart meters can be supplier specific.

So if you switch, your smart meter may not work with your new supplier’s technology. This means your smart meter will act like an ordinary meter, and if you want a smart meter you’ll have to get a new one installed. By the end of 2020, every household in the UK will have been offered a smart meter for their gas and electricity.

How can I find out who my energy supplier is?

If you’re not sure, take a look at your utility bill – you’ll get it either as an email or a paper bill. Failing that, check your bank account and see who you pay.