What exactly is auto-switching (and how will it save me money)?

What is auto-switching?

Auto-switching, or automatic switching, is a new way of ensuring you’re always on the best energy deal. The concept of auto-switching is pretty simple – you enter a few details about yourself and your property and an algorithm trawls over 20,000 tariffs to find the best value deal. It takes into account all sorts of variables – usage, region, meter type and much more – to tailor this deal to the specific user.

So, it’s a comparison site?

No, it definitely isn’t. There are two distinct differences between a comparison site and an auto switcher:

  1. Auto switchers do everything for you – they don’t just present the options, they take care of the whole comparison and switching process themselves, so the user doesn’t have to do a thing.
  2. Comparison sites don’t search the whole of the market – by default, they only show you deals that get them a commission. Thousands of tariffs from dozens of energy providers don’t provide a commission to comparison sites, so won’t show up in a search.

The need for auto-switching

11 million households in the UK are on the most expensive tariffs with their providers because they haven’t switched for over a year. The energy industry punishes loyalty – auto-switching is here to challenge this and return power to the consumer.

Most people know that switching every six months is usually the only way of staying on a good deal, but it often ends up on the bottom of the average person’s to-do list. Let’s face it – given the choice between planning our next holiday and switching energy bill provider, not many of us would go for the latter!

Those who do decide to switch have a number of options. First, they can head to a comparison site and hope that the “best deal” really is the best deal, and not just the one that pays the highest commission. Alternatively, they may head to a company they feel they can trust – like a charity.

Asking a trusted, reputable charity for advice on your energy bills – surely this is the best way to get a fair tariff for your energy? Well, not quite. In 2016, it was revealed that Age UK had been pushing an energy tariff on its customers that cost hundreds of pounds more than the cheapest offer on the market. A scandal ensued, and people began to wonder… who can you actually trust?

Two people who took particular interest were Tom Rogers and Llewellyn Kinch. They were frustrated by the lack of trust and transparency in the energy industry and thought there must be a better way of doing things. They wrote up a plan for a service that algorithmically checks every price on the market, free of any commission deals that could affect impartiality, and in 2017 they founded Switchd.

What Switchd’s auto-switching algorithm does

  • All you need to do is sign-up. Once – that’s it. This gives us the details we need to be able to look after your energy for as long as you desire, ensuring that you are on the cheapest deal. Sign-up takes about 4 minutes!
  • We will then place you into our algorithm with searches every single tariff in the market daily, this is over 20,000 tariffs! This is unlike comparison sites and many of our competitors which only let you switch to tariffs that pay them a commission. Commission-based tariffs are usually more expensive, so we save you £109 per year more on average than these sites.
  • Once a better deal is available, we switch you automatically.
  • You will receive an email with the details of the switch and will have 14 days to let us know if you want it cancelled.
  • After the first switch, our algorithm will continue looking for an even better deal to ensure you are never paying more than you need to. On average, our customers are switched every 6-9 months.
  • If you don’t have a smart meter you will need to give meter readings occasionally. However, as smart meters become more popular and suppliers are forced to provide one, even this step will no longer be necessary.

Got a question?

We’ve taken some frequently asked questions to Llewellyn, co-founder of Switchd, to get the answers:

Auto switchers put households on the cheapest deal, but do you also take the provider’s customer service levels into account?

Yes – we’ve excluded a few providers due to poor customer service because, even if they may be cheap, we believe it would cause too much hassle to the customer to make the savings worthwhile.

Meanwhile, Ofgem has great regulation in place to ensure the consumer is not affected should a company go bust. All credit balances are refunded, and they are automatically switched to another supplier, who they are permitted to switch from, to ensure no disruption in service. We will take care of this switch for you.

Do households still have control over their energy bills?

Again the answer is yes. Early on we realised that although our customers wanted less hassle, they wanted more control at the same time. Therefore, although we do everything for our customers, we also provide them with all the information they need.

In addition, they have control over the type of tariff they want – i.e. whether they want it to be a green energy tariff, or if they have a preference between fixed and variable rate tariffs. These are all changeable in the customer dashboard, which also includes full details of their current and previous tariff. Customers are also able to exclude any supplier they do not want us to switch them to. We also have the functionality in place so that customers with multiple properties are able to manage them all in one account through their dashboard.

We update them when a switch is underway with all the details (supplier, tariff, saving, monthly direct debit etc.) upon which they have 14 days to let us know if they want us to cancel it.

How often are households switched?

We ensure that our customers are not switched more than once every six months. This is partially due to the time it takes for a switch to complete, but also due to customer feedback which strongly suggested that they didn’t want to be switched more often. After six months our algorithm will start looking for a cheaper deal for you again – and switch you as soon as one is found.

What else do customers need to do?

Very little – from time to time you will need to give meter readings to ensure you’re paying the correct amount, but once smart meters become more prevalent even this won’t be needed!

So, what are you waiting for?

  • We save you more time and money than comparison sites and our free competitors. And what’s more, you’ll only be charged for our service if and when we get you a saving of £50 or more.
  • Its quick to sign up, then hassle-free thereafter.
  • Auto switching is for those who want to save money, but don’t have the time or patience to keep switching. If you want to save money hassle-free, auto switching may well be for you.
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