Switching really is as easy as suppliers claim it to be. It’s worth taking the time to do your research and shop around to make sure you find the best deal for you. Just make sure you have a statement or bill to hand with your EAC and AQ.
Whether you use the company’s website directly or a comparison site, you’ll need give your postcode, how you pay and whether you have just electricity or electricity and gas. To make sure you get the most accurate quote for you, it’s best to enter your EAC & AQ to work out your annual cost, otherwise they’ll estimate it based on a UK average.
The energy provider will give you an estimate of your monthly cost, but this might not be an accurate reflection. It’s better to compare the unit rates and standing charges. Some suppliers offer extra benefits for switching to them, like a voucher for recommending a friend, so it’s worth checking these out too.
Once you’ve found a plan that works for you, whether that’s a fixed plan with a Direct Debit, or a plan where you pay every 3 months when you get your bill through, all you need to do is fill in your personal details and the energy supplier will do the rest. It’s really that simple, you don’t even need to tell your current supplier you’re switching, your new one will do it all for you.
Now you can sit back and relax.
Comparison sites can be useful because they show all the information in one place. However, they can’t help you switch to every provider, especially smaller ones and they don’t always display every tariff. While they’re good as an overview, you’re normally best having a look directly on the website. Though, they often offer incentives to use them, so that might be a reason to use them.
The switching process
Once you start the switch, it will take about 6 weeks until the new people start providing energy into your house. During that time all your energy usage will need to be paid to the old suppliers.
Your new supplier will then get in touch asking for you to send in opening meter readings. Similar to when you first moved in your house, it’s important you take note of these and send them in. It means your new supplier knows what point to start charging your usage from, their prices are usually cheaper, so make sure they have the readings and don’t estimate it to be higher than it is.
When you’re shopping around, make sure you find the best tariff for you. Similar to a mobile phone tariff, they come in different shapes and sizes, for different lengths of time and costs.
Typically, most tariffs are fixed for 12 months, or they’re variable. Looking at the tariffs initially, you might think a variable tariff is better for you as you might not be living in your house for the full 12 months, but usually this wouldn’t be the case.
Variable tariffs mean that you’re not tied into a contract, so you can switch suppliers (or change your tariff with the same supplier) at any time without getting charged for it. Sounds good right? Well, having a variable tariff means that your prices might change at any time, so while that means they might drop it’s more likely they’ll become more expensive.
But with a fixed tariff, those prices are in place for 12 months (or however long they set it), regardless of what happens to the energy market. However, they will usually charge exit fees if you switch suppliers during that time. Most suppliers will only charge exit fees if you switch suppliers and not if you move out of the property. So it’s worth double checking that with them, but that means you can get the best deal for you during your time in your house.
Most providers will also offer paper and paperless tariffs. Usually paperless tariffs are cheaper and you’ll receive your statements and notifications by email rather than through the post. Why waste money and paper when you can get it by email and do your bit for the planet at the same time?