We’ve all been spending more time at home than we usually would and that may mean that use of electricity and gas in households will likely have risen. It’s estimated that by switching energy providers, a single household could save up to £350 per year! Read on for our tips on finding the cheapest option and how to go about switching.
Switching energy supplier may seem like a faff, but your meter, pipes and supply all stay the same. What changes is the company delivering the service and importantly, the cost. The cheapest tariff available to households is dependent on where you live and what your usage is.
How to find the cheapest tariff?
You could go directly to a provider’s website. But be warned, sometimes what they advertise as the cheapest tariff may not be the cheapest for you specifically.
There are many price comparison websites out there that measure your personal information against the deals they know. They then work out the services that might be cheapest for you.
Ofgem (the government body that regulates the gas and electricity markets) have a list of approved comparison sites here.
The Cheap Energy Club from MoneySavingExpert.com also has a tool you can use to find your cheapest rate. You can have a look at the site here.
Another option could be to sign up to auto-switch services like Look After My Bills or Flipper that change your provider every year according to which tariff will save you the most money. This takes out the hassle of switching, but some of these sites may take a one off or monthly fee.
What do I need to do?
You will need to be able to give the following information:
- Your address
- The number of bedrooms in your home
- The number of people living there
- The gas and electricity usage in your home (you will find this on your previous bill – it is usually shown in kilowatt hours (kWh)
Remember that these gas and electricity companies are trying to tempt you to switch, so they’ll do the hard work for you. Once you have contacted a new provider and told them that you would like to switch, they will contact your old provider and sort out the move for you.
Don’t worry though, if you decide you don’t want to switch after all. After your existing provider has been contacted, you’ll have a ‘cooling off’ period of 14 days if you decide you’d prefer not to switch.
From the end of the cooling off period, it can take up to six weeks to switch over fully. You will need to pay off your final bill to your old supplier. If you are actually in credit, they will need to refund any money owed to you within 10 days – otherwise you are liable for £30 compensation.
Things to think about
Does your current tariff have exit fees? Some providers charge up to £30 if you choose to switch before your contract is up, BUT they cannot charge you this money if you’re in the last 49 days of your contract.
Short fix or long fix, what’s better for you? A short fix for a switch may mean that you will save more money, but only for a small amount of time. You need to be honest as to whether you will constantly check and change your tariffs. If not, it may make more sense to go for a longer fix, with less savings but a cheaper rate in the long term.
If you doubt that you’ll keep up to date with constant changes, an auto switch service may suit you better.
Ofgem have reported that in the UK we overpay our energy bills by around £4bn and that one of the leading reasons for this was believing it was too complicated to switch. We hope we’ve proven that it’s not!
The HomeSwapper Customer Support team are always on hand to give advice and tips on how to get the most from HomeSwapper. They deal with Swappers every day and have a unique insight and view on the thousands of successful swaps that take place on HomeSwapper.