Switching your energy tariff has never been easier, but for some reason, millions of people nationwide are still passing on their right to cheaper energy bills. Each year, billions of pounds in overspend are wasted across the country due to people having not switched their energy tariff. This could so easily be avoided, making the energy markets much more competitive with their pricing and knocking the big six off their high horses.
Not only should we switch to save money for our own financial benefit, but for the benefit of the environment also. An increasing amount of suppliers are offering 100% renewable gas and electricity tariffs which help support and sustain the continued development of sustainable energy generation. Even those that do not yet offer these tariffs are working on improving their overall energy mix, which is a huge step forward towards a greener future.
What do I need in order to switch?
Switching your gas and electricity bills in the UK is extremely simple. Some energy providers are able to switch your tariff with only your name and address. There are a few things that you should perhaps have at your disposal anyway, however, mainly to improve the accuracy of your estimation. If you have the following things, you can get a much better idea of how much you are going to save in comparison to your current tariff when passing your details through a comparison service:
- Basic information (name, address, bank details etc.)
- Existing supplier name
- Average yearly usage
- Your last bill
- Name of your energy deal
If you are not sure about your yearly usage and you don’t have access to online bills to check historic invoices, you can give your supplier a call to see if they can provide you with the correct information on your usage. This shouldn’t take long and you can do this by giving them a call.
How do I switch?
The most popular method of switching your gas and electricity tariff is currently by using a comparison engine such as Selectra or USwitch. These services will display all the cheapest tariffs available to you based on your location and usage/payment preferences.
Not only will they compare prices for you, but you can sign up for the contract through them also. Once you have passed your information onto them, they will take care of everything else, allowing you to sit back and relax while the process takes place.
How long does it take?
The initial task of comparing and signing up for your new tariff can take as little as 2 minutes if you are computer savvy. However, if not, it make take a couple more minutes, but it is still a very quick and easy process. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to talk to someone on the phone, there are a selected few comparison services that will perform this service over the phone.
After you have passed over all of your information, the process will take up to 21 days. Due to OFGEM regulations, this process can take no longer than this amount and has an average waiting time of around 17 days. Following the switching date, you will also have a 14 day cooling off period which is your right as a consumer to be able to change your mind. If you decide within this time that you would rather be with another supplier or you simply aren’t happy with the tariff you have contracted, you should contact your new supplier immediately and cancel the contract before this 14 day cooling off period ends.
Things to consider when choosing tariff
When you are looking through the tariff comparison provided to you by the comparison engine, it is tempting to jump straight into the cheapest tariff available to you; however, there are a couple of things to bear in mind before you rush into something you will later regret.
- Make sure you have read through the important terms and conditions, making you aware of exit fees for early termination of the contract.
- As above, make sure that you are totally aware of the length of contract you are signing up for.
- Consider switching to a 100% renewable electricity tariff to support the growth of sustainable energy generation.
- Decide whether you want a fixed or variable tariff. Put more simply, whether you want to lock in a price for a couple of years, or let your price rise and fall with no contract.
- Make sure that you go with a company that has a good customer service rating.
Don’t be put off by going with independent companies that you haven’t heard of – they are most likely more customer focused, and thus more competent, than the big six companies.