Switching Gas And Electric Supplier

A woman is shown calculating her gas and electric bills

By switching energy suppliers for gas and electric in the UK, you stand to make a substantial saving. Staying with your current provider may not guarantee you the best deal in the market, so you may wish to consider alternative options. In this article, we shall discuss:

  • Comparing gas and electric suppliers
  • Switching energy tariffs
  • How switching energy suppliers works
  • What happens after you switch suppliers

Comparing gas and electric suppliers

The most popular and convenient way for consumers to compare the energy market for gas and electricity suppliers is by using online energy price comparison sites. Typically, energy provider comparison services automatically show you all available options regarding energy suppliers as well as the different tariffs that are available from each provider.

Energy comparison services in the UK require your postcode as well as an indication of your current energy usage before switching energy suppliers.

To be able to move forward with a price comparison process, most energy comparison services require your postcode as well as an indication of your current energy usage. To be able to gauge your current energy supply information, you may need to take a meter reading or consult past energy bills for your usage figures. If you are unable to determine how much gas and electricity you use, some comparison sites help you determine your usage with a number of questions.

A man is show taking an electric meter reading

Comparing and switching energy suppliers is a quick and fairly straightforward process. When comparing energy prices online, you will be presented with options for dual fuel (gas and electric) providers, or gas and electricity suppliers separately. While dual fuel tariffs may not always guarantee the cheapest rates in the energy market, the convenience of dealing with the customer service of a single supplier may appeal to some consumers.

Questions about switching energy suppliers:

What is a cooling down period when switching energy suppliers?

A cooling off period when you switch energy suppliers is a 14 day period that allows you to change your mind about switching. You may wish to take advantage of this allowance if you believe you have made a mistake when selecting your new energy supplier, for example, if you discover that you will not save on your electricity bills.

Will my gas and electric be interrupted while switching?

Your gas and electricity supply will not be interrupted while you switch energy providers. Since you keep using the same infrastructure for energy, it is only the administrative part that effectively changes when you switch, with no physical changes taking place. Switching energy providers shoul;d help you save money on your electricity bills and lower your gas bills even further.

Can I switch gas and electric providers if I have outstanding bills?

Switching to a new energy supplier may be affected if you have outstanding bills with your existing energy provider. When deciding to switch, it is best to settle any outstanding debt as any bills more than 28 days old can halt the switching process. While there are some exceptions to this rule, it is advised that you settle any existing bills before switching to a new gas or electricity supplier for a faster and hassle-free experience.

Switching energy tariffs

As an alternative to switching energy suppliers, you may wish to stay with your current provider and examine your options for different types of tariffs. While the cost of electricity and gas bills will vary according to your household use, different tariffs cater to various consumer needs. With certain tariffs, you may be able to make a significant saving while staying with the same provider.

A 14-day cooling off period allows you to cancel switching energy providers

Besides the standard tariff provided by your energy supplier, you may wish to consider some of the following tariffs to make savings on your energy bills. Fixed rate tariffs guarantee you a fixed cost over a predetermined period during which your tariff will not fluctuate up or down. A capped rate tariff allows the cost of your bill to decrease while not going over a predetermined amount. Collective tariffs (usually not available on energy comparison sites) enables a group of people to negotiate with energy companies for a deal collectively. Finally, Economy 7 tariffs are those which require a separate electricity meter for off-peak hours (7 hours at night) and on-peak for 17 hours of the day.

How switching energy suppliers works

Switching energy suppliers has become a quick and easy process in recent years. Since you can complete the entire process online, there is no need to pick up the phone and speak with anyone when switching energy companies. When switching online, your new energy supplier sorts out all the details of your switch with your current supplier, so you don’t have to.

A woman is switching energy suppliers online

A 14-day cooling off period after the application to switch allows consumers to change their mind if they wish to. After a period of 4 to 6 weeks, the energy supplier switching process should be completed. This procedure is not different if you choose to switch to a dual fuel tariff (getting your gas and electricity from the same provider).

What happens after you switch suppliers

After completing your application to switch energy suppliers, you have to wait until your application is processed by your new energy provider (or the current one, if you have opted for a different tariff with the same provider). You should then hear from your provider within two weeks, notifying you of your new arrangement. The switch should then be completed within 4 to 6 weeks in total, after your initial application. While waiting for the energy supplier switching process to be completed, you do not have to worry about experiencing any disruption to your energy supply. After all, switching suppliers means that you keep using the same infrastructure, but receive your bill for your energy usage from a different energy company.

Common questions about comparing and switching energy suppliers

How can I save on gas and electric bills?
Aside from considering the switch to a different tariff with your existing provider or switching energy suppliers altogether, there are certain practices you may follow to help you save on your energy bills. A smart meter can help you to both monitor and reduce your energy usage. Make sure that your bill is not based on estimates, but rather actual meter readings. Additionally, you should check if you are on a variable tariff plan if your previous price plan has ended, as these types of plans are usually more expensive. Finally, bear in mind that while dual fuel tariffs are more convenient, they are not necessarily the cheapest.
What is an estimated reading on my energy bills?
When your energy supplier cannot access your meter readings on a regular basis, they instead charge you on your estimated usage. These estimates can be based on your historical usage, as well as national averages.
What is community energy switching?
Community switching, also known as collective switching, is a scheme that allows its members to collectively bargain with energy suppliers for a deal when switching from previous suppliers. Typically, an appointed community leader will be responsible for all communication with new energy suppliers in search for a better deal on energy.