How to switch energy suppliers

Moving to a new energy supplier can cut the cost of your gas and electricity bills. Plus, switching is quick and easy - just choose a new supplier and let them do the admin for you.

Updated 24 April 2020  | 2 min read

Key points

  • If you find a good deal, ask your existing provider if they’ll match it
  • If you decide to switch instead, your new provider will tell your existing provider about the switch - all you need to do is confirm you want to switch
  • Allow up to 17 days for the switch to complete
  • Your energy won't be switched off during the switching period

Lack of switching in 2022

According to Energy UK, the number of households switching providers in March 2022fell by 86% compared to the same month in 2021.

Can I switch my energy supplier?

Most people can switch energy easily, but there are a few situations where you might struggle.

For example, if you’re a tenant you have the right to switch if you’re the one paying the bill, but you must get permission from your landlord before doing so.

If you owe your current supplier money or use a pre-payment meter and owe more than £500 to your supplier, this might stop you from being able to switch.

Ask your supplier about whether you can switch, or contact Citizens Advice for help.

Choose a tariff

There are two main types of tariff - standard variable and  fixed.

Fixed tariffs are deals that give you the same price for a set amount of time, no matter what energy prices do in that period. 

Standard variable ones can change how much you pay for your energy at anytime. You'll usually be put on a standard variable tariff when a fixed deal ends, but fixed tariffs often work out cheaper so it’s best to get put back on one as soon as you can.

Compare energy quotes

Comparison sites are the easiest way to see all the deals on offer. They show the suppliers you could choose, how much you could save and the tariffs available.

To use a comparison site, you’ll need to provide your:

  • Postcode
  • Existing supplier
  • Existing energy deal
  • Usage information
  • Bank details

It’s important to make sure your usage information is accurate. You can find this on your bill.

Choosing a deal

When you’ve decided on a deal, input your bank details onto the comparison site and confirm you want to switch.

What happens next?

If you change your mind about switching, you can cancel within 14 days of completing the application.

After this 14-day cooling-off period, the switch takes three days. Your new supplier should take over from the old one 17 days after you confirm you want to switch.

The new supplier makes all the arrangements for the transfer - you don’t need to do a thing. It’s all done remotely, without the need for anyone to come to your home or energy being turned off.

You will be given a switch over date, and from then the energy will come from your new supplier.

Changing suppliers again

You can switch suppliers again from 28 days after your new supplier takes over. However, some suppliers charge exit fees if you've chosen a fixed-rate deal. You'll need to work out whether switching and saving is going to leave you better off after you've paid any exit fees.

Compare prices every six months to make sure your deal is still competitive.