A simples guide

When is the best time to switch energy providers?

There are many different options when it comes to selecting your gas and electricity deal. Not only are there lots of established energy providers in the market, but each provider also has a number of different deals. So before you change your supplier you should also consider the option of switching to another arrangement with your existing provider.

The switching process can take no more than 21 days thanks to the Energy Switch Guarantee, which covers the energy providers of around 70% of UK households – so it could be quicker than you think.

When you might look at switching

Choosing the best time to switch energy providers is not easy. Many people don’t consider this until they have perhaps been paying a high price for an extended period. However, the best time to switch energy could be on any of the following occasions:

  • When you haven’t switched for 12-18 months – many energy providers’ deals expire after this sort of period, and after this time you may find you have been moved to their standard tariff, which could be their most expensive.
  • When you think prices may be about to rise – you may get wind of this from the media, or you may hear that one of the main providers has announced a rise. When one energy provider announces a rise, the others often follow suit. When prices are rising, taking out a fixed energy tariff can be a very prudent option, guaranteeing that prices will not rise for a set period, which could be anything between one and five years depending on the deal.
  • Just before your deal ends – as mentioned above the energy providers offering  the switching process with the Energy Switch Guarantee take up to 21 days , and those who don’t make an active decision to switch could end up on an expensive standard tariff. So several weeks before your deal expires, start shopping around. Your energy provider should write to you and tell you your tariff period is coming to an end so you’ll know when to start looking.
  •  Don’t just look at the deals being offered by the big six energy providers – EON, British Gas, EDF Energy, Scottish and Southern Energy, Scottish Power, and nPower – as cheaper deals may be available from smaller players.

The switching process

The main steps in switching to a new energy deal are:

  • Start a comparison – make sure you have a bill to hand showing your actual, not estimated energy usage so you get an accurate calculation
  • Choose your new provider and tariff, after carefully comparing the deals available to get the right one for you
  • Take a meter reading on the day your switch comes into effect
  • Pay any outstanding bills with your previous energy provider

You won’t notice any changes to your energy provision, and you certainly won’t find yourself without gas or electricity for any period just because you’ve chosen to switch.

However, if you have second thoughts about your decision to switch, then you have a 14 day cooling off period to change your mind.

So, what are you waiting for? Start comparing deals today and see how much you could save.