On 7 June 2016, Energy UK launched the Energy Switch Guarantee.
Here we explain what it is and what it means for consumers.
What is the Energy Switch Guarantee?
The Energy Switch Guarantee is a set of 10 commitments developed by energy suppliers to make it clear how customers can switch from one energy supplier to another in a simple, reliable and hassle-free way.
Why is it happening?
Anyone who has switched before will know that the process of comparing prices and making a switch application is easy and straightforward. It only takes 30 seconds to do a comparison on our energy price comparison website and then another few minutes to fill in the application form. The real frustration has been that you have then had to wait 4 to 6 weeks while the switching process needlessly lumbered through archaic industry processes.
The Energy Switch Guarantee is designed to make switching energy suppliers easy, quick and safe for customers. It took its time coming but at least it is now here.
What are the 10 commitments?
This is the official industry blurb
1. All energy providers use the same wires and pipes, therefore your energy supply will not be interrupted.
2. The switching service is free.
3. The switch will take no more than 21 days from the date your new provider receives your completed application.
4. Your new energy provider will not need to visit your home to complete the switch unless you agree otherwise.
5. Your new energy provider will arrange the switch, including contacting your current provider to let them know you are leaving.
6. Your new energy provider will send you details of your new energy supply agreement for you to check and you will have 14 days to change your mind. If you cancel in this time, you will stay with your current provider.
7. Your new and current providers will work together to make sure you are not charged twice for the same energy.
Issues or delays
8. If there are any problems making the switch, your new provider will contact you as soon as possible and will be responsible for putting the matter right.
Billing - your current provider's responsibility
9. Following the switch your current provider will send you a final bill no later than six weeks after the switch.
10. If your current provider owes you any money, they will refund this to you no later
How is it different from the current switching process?
Well it is definitely going to be quicker than it was. It also means that energy suppliers will need to work with each other more efficiently and then to take responsibility for correcting errors if they occur. Specifically, your new energy supplier will be the one responsible for sorting out any issues with the switch so there will no longer be confusion over whose responsibility it is.
Does it mean that ALL switches will now go through first time?
Probably not. There will always be the odd glitch here are there with some switch applications. Switching errors are however a rare occurrence. According to Ofgem figures, of the almost six million households that switched supplier in 2014 the number of botched switches was only 1 per cent. We are not convinced those numbers are right but, in any case, the Energy Switch Guarantee should improve things further.
Does the Guarantee cost anything?
No. Switching energy supplier is free and always should be. Please be aware that there some services out there who charge customers for switching them. We recommend you avoid using any service that charges you for doing something that you can easily do for yourself for free. TheEnergyShop.com does not charge consumers to use it service. We are free to use, always have been, always will be.
Are all energy suppliers signed up to the Guarantee?
There are currently 8 energy suppliers (9 energy brands) signed up to the Guarantee, these are listed below. We expect others to follow over time.
The original energy suppliers signed up are;
- Flow Energy
- Octopus Energy
What if my current or new supplier has not signed up to the Guarantee?
It doesn't mean you can't switch to them, you still can. But The Energy Switch Guarantee will not apply when switching between suppliers that have not signed up to the new service.
Can any energy supplier become a signatory of the Energy Switch Guarantee?
Any energy provider can apply to be a signatory. Applications are vetted by an independent chair of the Governance Board to make sure they comply with all of the commitments. Signatories must also continue to comply with the standards relating to the commitments and will be regularly checked to ensure compliance.
Will we ever see something like the 'switch in a day' guarantee?
Good question. It will take some doing but legislation is being put in place which will set the way to make it happen. Legislation announced in the Queen's speech (May 2016) will allow Ofgem to push ahead with changes to industry codes that are needed to facilitate reliable next day switching. Government is aiming, rather ambitiously, for reliable next day switching by the end of 2018. We would love to see it happen but aren't betting the house on it.
Why not take advantage of the Energy Switch Guarantee today and complete an energy comparison now.