Switching your gas and electricity supplier
Find the answers to the most common gas and electricity questions here.
Why should I switch my energy supplier?
Because by switching you could save a lot of money! Depending upon your energy usage you could save £300 each year, or more. In addition to the savings from switching, many suppliers also offer special deals and incentives, such as online account management, renewable energy (many tariffs now have a green or renewable component to their energy as standard) and the security of ensuring your prices don't change if you opt for a fixed price tariff. TheEnergyShop.com has pulled together a wide range of energy deals in a single location, to help you find the switching deal for your gas and electricity that's right for you, quickly and easily.
How much money can I save?
How much you can save by switching energy suppliers depends on a number of factors. These include how much energy you use, how you want to pay your bill and the number of energy suppliers competing for your business in your area.
Savings of £300 per year are typical for customers who use our online gas and electricity price comparison service. For high energy users, the savings on their gas and electricity could be much larger. To find out exactly how much you can save by switching supplier, enter your details into our energy price comparison calculator and we'll calculate the savings for you. Click here to start.
What is involved in switching energy suppliers?
The process of switching energy suppliers is very straightforward. It involves the following simple steps.
1.- Decide which combination of energy supplier, price and tariff features suit you best. You can find all this information using TheEnergyShop's energy price calculator and information tools.
2.- Apply for the energy deal that best meets your needs. All you need to tell us are things like your name, address and other relevant information. The information that you provide is used as the basis for the energy contract with your new supplier.
3.- Your new energy supplier will contact you shortly after your application to confirm the details of the transfer and to give you an exact date of your energy account switchover.
4.- Typically, you will have switched to your new energy supplier in under 4 weeks and be saving good money on your gas and electricity bills.
How long does switching energy supplier take?
To make an application online at TheEnergyShop.com should take you less than 5 minutes. Your new supply should be live in under 4 weeks. This includes your statutory 'cooling off' period which is 14 days, the contract termination notice with your old energy supplier and the scheduling of your switchover.
When can I change supplier?
Anytime you like. You are free to choose who supplies your home with gas and electricity even if you rent your home. However please note that some tariffs have exit penalties so be careful to check whether these apply to you before switching.
Will there be any interruption to my gas or electricity supply?
No! Your new energy supplier will use the same electricity wires, gas pipes and meters that are connecting your property to the gas and electricity grid now. Your new energy supplier will also contact your existing energy supplier to arrange the transfer of your gas and electricity supply. The only change you will see is that your gas and electricity bill will come from a different energy supplier and, provided that you opted for a cheaper energy tariff, then it will be lower.
If I decide to switch energy suppliers do I need to contact my current gas or electricity supplier?
Your new energy supplier will arrange the switch for you so you do not need to contact your previous gas or electricity supplier.
When should I cancel the Direct Debit with my current energy supplier?
You should not cancel your Direct Debit with your current energy supplier until the transfer of your gas or electricity supply has been confirmed. This will typically be done in under 4 weeks. You should also pay the final bill from your previous energy supplier before cancelling your Direct Debit mandate with them.
What is dual fuel?
A dual fuel deal is one where you get gas and electricity from the same company. These deals often offer discounts or lower gas and electricity prices, plus the convenience of dealing with a single energy supplier.
Can I switch if I owe money to my current supplier?
If you owe money to your current energy supplier or have a bill outstanding for more than 28 days, you may be unable to switch until you have paid what is due. There are certain cases in which you will still be able to switch, for example if you have a prepayment meter with less than £500 debt for each fuel. If your supplier has notified you of a price increase and you are in debt with them then you have 30 days in which to pay off the debt, and they will not block your transfer. Lastly, if you are in debt with your supplier because of an error on their part (for example if they have not set your direct debit high enough to cover your usage) then they cannot prevent you from switching.
Can my current supplier prevent me from switching to a new supplier for any other reason?
As long as you are not in debt with your existing gas and electricity supplier, they can't stop you from switching.
Who reads the meter when I change supplier?
It depends on your new energy supplier. Your new supplier will either arrange for someone to come and read your meter, or they may ask you to take the reading yourself. We recommend that you keep a note of the reading to ensure that you agree with the final bill from your old supplier when it arrives.
I am a prepayment customer. Can I change suppliers?
Yes you can. There are a limited number of cheaper gas and electricity tariffs available for customers on this type of meter. If you use our energy price comparison tool, you will be able to see which tariffs these are and make the switch.
What should I consider when choosing a new energy supplier?
There are a number of factors that you might want to take into consideration when choosing a new cheap gas and electricity supplier. Some of these are listed below.
- Do you want a single cheaper supplier for both your gas and electricity (a dual fuel supply) or are you just after the best deal irrespective of who supplies it?
- How competitive is the new supplier's tariff and how much will it save you each year?
- What payment options do they offer?
- Do they ask for payment in advance? An increasing number of the smaller energy suppliers ask for the first payment even before you have come on supply with them. We are not keen on this practise as it is indicative of poor financing and suggests an increased financial risk.
- What additional features and benefits come with the new energy deal?
- What can they offer in terms of customer service?
- What is their complaints handling record?
TheEnergyShop.com pulls together all this energy switching information into a single, easy to use place to make it easier for you to make your choice.
Does customer service matter?
Yes, of course it does. Factors such as the range of services a supplier offers, customer service hours, and billing queries handling are all important. How important depends on whether any of these factors are more important than getting the cheapest deal. To help inform you we have included supplier's customer service rating by stars on our website. You can read how we rate energy supplier here. You can also obtain details of certain energy supplier's complaint records on the Ofgem website. Please note however that complaints and customer service are not necessarily the same thing.
What information will I need to provide to get a comparison quote?
Not much! To do a search for a cheap gas and electricity supply you only need to enter your postcode, your current energy supplier and how much gas and electricity you use. It might be helpful to keep a recent energy bill or, even better, your Annual Statement, handy handy.
To make an application to switch to a cheaper gas and electricity supplier, you will need to provide us with your name, address and contact information, your bank details (if you want to pay by direct debit). Sometimes we need to ask for your electricity or gas meter reference numbers, which you can find printed on your bill.
What if I don't know who my current energy supplier is?
If you don't know who is currently supplying you with gas and/or electricity, you can find out in one of the following ways.
- Take a look at our MPAS page
- Check recent bills that you have paid
- If you are a tenant, ask your landlord or letting agency
- Contact the National Grid Number Helpline on 0870 608 1524 to confirm who your gas supplier is
- Contact your regional electricity distributor to confirm who your current electricity supplier is (see below)
|North Scotland||Scottish & Southern Energy||0800 048 3515|
|South Scotland||Scottish Power Energy Networks||0141 614 0145|
|North East England||Northern Powergrid||0845 0702703|
|North West||Electricity North West Ltd||0800 048 1820|
|Yorkshire||Northern Powergrid||0845 0702703|
|East Midlands||Western Power Distribution||0845 724 0240|
|West Midlands||Western Power Distribution||0845 724 0240|
|Eastern England||UK Power Networks||0845 601 4516|
|South Wales||Western Power Distribution||0845 724 0240|
|Southern England||Scottish & Southern Energy||0800 048 3516|
|London||UK Power Networks||0845 601 4516|
|South East England||UK Power Networks||0845 601 4516|
|South West England||Western Power Distribution||0845 724 0240|
|North Wales, Merseyside |
|Scottish Power Energy Networks||0845 270 0783|
I've signed up to switch my gas and electricity supplier, and then changed my mind. Can I cancel it?
Once you've entered into a contract for gas and / or electricity from a new supplier, you have a statutory 'cooling off' period of 14 days during which time you can change your mind and cancel your contract without penalty. After the 'cooling off' period has lapsed, should you wish to cancel, you will need to give your supplier the contractual notice period which is usually 28 days. You may also have to pay an exit penalty.
I have special needs. Will my new supplier provide me with the services I require?
All gas and electricity suppliers have special obligations toward elderly, disabled and chronically ill customers. Energy Suppliers must also provide facilities to assist blind, partially sighted, deaf and hearing-impaired customers. This applies equally to both your new and your existing energy supplier. For more information on services for elderly, disabled, chronically sick and special needs customers please click here.