Have you ever wondered what happens when you switch energy supplier? It’s a lot easier than you might think.
What happens when I switch energy supplier?
When you switch energy supplier, the process is absolutely seamless. You won’t lose your gas and electricity supply for a while as the suppliers swap over, and you don’t have to do anything apart from supply some meter readings.
What do I have to do?
In order to switch energy supplier, you first have to find the best energy deal. You can use a comparison site, a supplier’s own website or a service like Switchd to do so. It’s simpler with Switchd which ensures you are on the best deal – then automatically switches you in future to ensure you’re never paying more than you need to! If switching supplier manually, then you will need to supply some information about your name and address, and some details from your last bill. You will need this every time you wish to switch (will need to be done every 6-9 months to ensure you’re on the cheapest rate). If you use Switchd then you only provide this information once – and then never again.
What will I need to know from my bill?
Your bill will include a section that shows your estimated annual usage of electricity and/or gas. You enter those figures into the new supplier’s quote page, and it will work out the cost per month of switching supply to them.
What if I do not have a recent bill?
If you have just moved home, or you don’t have a bill to hand then you need not to worry, it’s possible for the supplier to estimate your usage either based on the size and type of your home or the amount you pay each month – but this is not as accurate as using the exact figures so you may not make the most of your switch if you go down this route. We highly recommend finding a recent bill so this is as accurate as possible. However, even if you over estimate your usage it will just mean you have credit on your account that you will get back. If you underestimate it then the supplier will issue you a bill and likely increase the direct debit.
How does switching work?
To switch energy supplier is simple: the whole process is taken care of between the old and new companies. You will be asked to take a meter reading around the day of the switch, and that will be used to calculate the final bill with your old supplier. You don’t even need to tell your old supplier that you intend to leave them – the new supplier is responsible for doing so. The whole thing is seamless – you are simply paying a new company for the same gas and electricity. A switch takes about 21 days.
How is my account settled?
Your final bill with your old supplier is calculated and sent you about six weeks after the switch. You will need to pay any outstanding balance. You will be reimbursed if you have a credit balance - so don’t cancel your direct debit until this has been settled. Sometimes you will need to two payments in the month of your switch. You are not paying more, but some suppliers collect payments in advance; others take payment after issuing a bill. Make sure to check when payment will be taken and make sure you have sufficient funds in the bank.
What if I change my mind?
If you change your mind, you have the right to cancel your switch within 14 days of requesting it. There is no fee to pay if you change your mind.
What does it mean being with a big vs a small supplier
There has been an explosion in recent years of smaller energy suppliers. Many of them have unique selling points such as the freedom to leave without paying a penalty or only investing in renewable energy. It is perfectly safe to use a small supplier – even if they go out of business the energy regulator, OFGEM, will make sure your energy supply is not affected
. We have an article about what happens when your supplier goes bust here
So why not just choose the cheapest? There are pros and cons with both big suppliers and small suppliers:
- Bigger suppliers are more likely to have fixed rate tariffs. Here you lock in a rate, protecting you against price rises. It does mean you lose out if prices drop, and you are also paying a premium;
- Smaller suppliers can specialise in certain types of fuel so can offer better deals on green fuel;
- Bigger suppliers have more customer support staff and can generally respond quicker to complaints and queries;
- Smaller suppliers cut out a lot of the bureaucracy of big companies which is how they can offer a reduced price for those who have the confidence to manage their own account online or through an app;
- Bigger suppliers often have additional services such as boiler cover or home emergency cover. It can be substantially cheaper to sign up for such services as an existing customer, so the overall cost of your energy and other services may be lower by choosing a deal from one of the big 6.
- Smaller suppliers often have very low rates to gain customers. They might raise them but if you are with Switchd they can protect you against the rise.
How can Switchd help me switch energy supplier?
We know that there is a lot to think about when you switch energy supplier. That’s why we at Switchd offer a service that keeps track of energy prices and finds you the best deal. We use sophisticated technology to ensure you pay the lowest possible price by finding out when you can switch supplier and automatically moving you onto the best deal of the market.
What this means in practice is that you do not need to worry about the amount of electricity and gas you use, whether to choose a fixed rate or a variable rate and you don’t need to worry about jargon like standing charges and economy 7. You just leave it all to us: we constantly monitor the energy market, and as soon as you can make a saving, we seamlessly switch supplier on your behalf.
Also – you can exclude suppliers so if you do not want small suppliers then you can exclude them in the dashboard.
Switch and Save on your Energy
If you haven't switched supplier of your energy in the last 12 months, you are probably paying too much for your energy. Choose Switchd
, and you can relax in the confidence that our sophisticated algorithm will work away behind the scenes to get you the best prices. You'll never need to switch energy supplier again - Switchd does it for you!
Further reading: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/consumers/household-gas-and-electricity-guide/how-switch-energy-supplier-and-shop-better-deal