With gas and electricity prices still sky high, find out if you should switch your gas and electricity supplier to save money on energy bills.
It’s been a rollercoaster ride in the gas and electricity market for the last few years. The difficulties in the energy market drove up wholesale energy costs, leading to energy suppliers withdrawing their fixed tariff deals. This left most households on standard variable tariffs which are protected by the energy price cap.
Energy bills are still well above pre-energy crisis levels. The Ofgem price cap rose by 5% from 1 January 2024 to £1,928/year for a typical household. Though experts have predicted prices will drop a little over the course of 2024.
Here’s what you need to know if you want to switch your gas and electricity supplier.
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Will switching save me money?
Most households are on standard variable tariffs, and the prices that suppliers can charge on these deals are limited through the energy price cap.
The energy price cap is currently set at £1,928 until the end of March. So a fixed energy tariff might sound good right now.
But it’s important to remember that it comes with a few catches. The first is that they can be limited to existing customers only. This means you can’t always switch over to a new deal from a rival supplier. However, at the time of writing, there are some fixed deals available for new customers.
Another issue is the pricing of these fixed tariffs. They’re typically priced around the price cap level. So to make your decision, you need to know what is likely to happen to the cap over the next year and will energy prices go down?
It’s also worth noting that switching to a fixed-price tariff provides cost certainty. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll save money, but it could help you to budget for the next year.
See Should I fix my energy? for full pros and cons of switching.
What information will I need to switch?
If you want to switch suppliers, no matter the reason, you’ll need to get some details first.
Make sure you have the name of your current energy supplier, the name of your tariff, and how much energy you use. This could be swapped by how much you pay in a year.
You can find all these details on your latest bill or annual statement. It could be either on the paper or online version, or you could phone your energy supplier. Keep in mind that you might have to wait for a long time to actually speak to someone.
How do I make the switch?
There are plenty of ways to identify the energy supplier you wish to switch to. Our energy comparison guide takes you through all you need to know, and is the best place to start.
But here’s a run-through of the general switching process.
- Use a price comparison site. You can do a quick energy comparison of the open-market deals available via our sister site, Go.Compare.
- Enter your details: You will need to share some of your information with the comparison site, such as your typical energy use and your postcode. This helps you check what deals are available in your area currently.
- Check out deals not on comparison sites. Some deals are for existing customers only or are not on comparison sites – see our pick of the best fixed deals on the market for a round-up of what is out there.
- Choose your supplier: It can be difficult to find the right supplier. The best way to do this is by thinking about what’s most important to you. This could be a purely based on price, a long-term fix, or one without any early exit fees.
- Get a quote: The new supplier can then provide you with a quote to give you an idea of what your energy bills will look like.
- Confirm your switch: Lastly, you need to provide your supplier with your full address and bank details so that you can be set up on a Direct Debit.
How long will the switch take?
Under the Energy Switch Guarantee, it will take around 21 days to switch your energy. All this will be handled by your new supplier. You don’t even need to tell your current supplier that you are switching.
Suppliers on the scheme must ensure that your energy supply won’t be interrupted during the switch.
If there’s a problem switching, it’s up to your new provider to resolve it. You also get a 14-day cooling-off period to change your mind and cancel the switch.
You can of course switch to suppliers that don’t belong to the scheme. However, these guarantees don’t apply, although you can still complain to your new supplier if a switch is handled badly.
If the situation escalates, you can take your case to the Energy Ombudsman.
Does it cost anything to switch?
This will come down to the tariff you’re on. If you are on a standard variable tariff, there won’t beany exit fees. But if you are on a fixed tariff and not in the last 49 days, you will probably have to pay to leave the deal.
The size of these fees can vary significantly between suppliers. For the current fixed deals, the dual-fuel exit fee is typically £150.
What happens if I'm moving house?
When you move home, you’ll usually automatically inherit the previous homeowner’s supplier. But you don’t have to stick with them. Find out what to tell your energy supplier when moving house.
You can choose a new supplier and apply to switch, even if just to its standard rate deal.
At least 48 hours before you move, you will need to submit a final meter reading to both your gas and electricity suppliers.
If you don’t have the details of your new gas supplier, you can find this online at Find My Supplier search tool by putting in the postcode and address of your new home.
If you don’t know which company supplies your electricity, go to the Energy Networks Association and use its search tool to find your network operator.
You can then click through to their website and pop in your postcode for details of the new property’s electricity supplier.
Have a look at our energy-saving tips if you’re looking to slash your gas and electricity costs.
Other ways to save money on your energy bills
Here are some handy energy guides, full of tips for saving energy – and therefore money – around the household:
- See how household appliances compare with our cost calculator.
- Dishwasher vs hand washing – which is cheaper?
- Heated airer or dehumidifier – what’s the better way to dry clothes indoors?
- Heated airer vs tumble dryer: which is more cost-effective?
- How much does it cost to boil your kettle?
- How much does it cost to run a fan?
- Is it better to heat your rooms with underfloor heating or a radiator?
- Is it cheaper to turn the heating on a low setting all day or use timed bursts?
- Oven vs microwave – which works out cheaper to run?