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How to switch energy supplier

More and more of us are switching energy supplier, and it's no surprise why - you could save £230 a year if you switch, according to energy regulator Ofgem.

Key points

  • It can take up to 17 days to switch your energy supplier
  • Try haggling with your existing provider, they may decide to drop the price
  • You don't need to notify your existing supplier that you're leaving, your new energy provider will do that for you

Ofgem research from February 2017 also shows that consumers switching energy supplier hit a six-year high in 2016. Over seven million switches took place during the year, that's 1.7 million more than in 2015 and an increase of 28%.

In 2014, switching took around five weeks and could be a difficult process, but in 2017 everything can be sorted in just 17 days.

However, many people still find switching a pain and it can be difficult to know where to start.

Read on for a step-by-step guide to switching energy supplier or watch our short video below - by the end, you'll want to start switching straight away.

Can I switch?

Before you look into switching suppliers, make sure you're able to switch.

If you're a tenant you have just as much right to switch as a homeowner. However, it's best to get permission from your landlord before switching suppliers.

If you're in debt to your supplier, you may not be able to switch. If you pay via a pre-payment meter and owe more than £500 to your supplier, you may not be able to move. Get in touch with the supplier to find out, or Citizen's Advice may be able to help you.

Choose a tariff

There are two main types of tariff to choose from - a standard variable tariff and a fixed tariff. Many people find themselves on a standard tariff, which is generally more expensive than a fixed tariff and could mean bigger savings if you switch.

A fixed tariff is a deal that's set at a certain amount for a length of time, regardless of whether energy prices go up or down.

Get your information together

Before you can switch you'll need some information to hand.

You'll need your:

  • postcode
  • existing supplier
  • existing energy deal
  • usage information, which should be on a bill
  • bank details, if you do decide to switch

Shop around and compare suppliers

It might seem obvious that we'd tell you to use a comparison site, but it's the easiest way to find the right supplier for your needs quickly. You'll be shown the amount of money you'll save, and the kind of tariff on offer, as well as all the necessary details.

GoCompare's energy comparison service automatically shows you all the tariffs you can switch to through us, however you can also see all other tariffs on the results page. It's easy to toggle between both views to find the one that's best for you.

You can also go directly to your supplier and see what other tariffs they have to offer, but don't take their word that it's the cheapest on offer to you.

When you're looking around and comparing deals, make sure the usage information you have is as exact as possible. Keep a bill to hand and input your usage information from that.

Choose a deal

Once you've found the right supplier for your needs, input your bank details into the comparison site of your choice and confirm the switch.

And that's it from your side! Your new supplier will do the rest from there.

What happens next

While actually switching suppliers should take just three days, you have a 14-day cooling off period between completing your application and your switch starting. This gives you time to change your mind.

In the run up to switching your new supplier will work to move everything over, contacting your old supplier and arranging a switch over date with you.

All this will be done remotely - no one will come to your home as the way you receive your heating isn't changing, just how you're billed for it.

Your energy won't be switched off or interrupted during the switching period.

Changing suppliers again

If you're unhappy with your new supplier, you have the option to switch again after 28 days. However, you may be subject to cancellation fees - keep this in mind.

Check your supplier again in six months and then after 12 months to make sure they're still the right ones for you.

By Emily Bater