Should You Switch Energy Provider?
You’ve been with the same energy provider for years. Although you’re not going to invite them around for a beer any time soon, it would feel a bit disloyal to dump them. Gas and electricity are always there when you need it and as to the cost… it’s the same wherever you get it from isn’t it?
If this is you, you’re not alone. Millions of people believe they’re getting the best deal from their current energy supplier. Chances are you’re not and switching could save you hundreds of pounds on your bills.
Recently, all the big energy suppliers have hiked up their prices. If you’re on a standard tariff with any of them, it’s more than likely that you’re massively overpaying.
The time has arrived to have that, ‘It’s been great BUT…’ conversation. Here’s how to go about it.
- You don’t need to discuss it with your current provider. They’ll only try and talk you out of it, tell you how great they are, how much you’re going to miss them etc. Unless you’ve had great service and don’t want to risk poor service, keep your cards close to your chest.
- If you’re a bit of a softie and need to give them a second chance, be warned: you’ll get a slightly better deal than you’re already getting, but it might not be as good as what you could get elsewhere.
- Go online and see what’s out there. Comparison websites will help find the cheapest prices in your area.
- Have your most recent bills to hand, so you’ve got all the facts and figures. This is not about guesswork.
- In minutes, the cheapest dual-fuel deals will flash enticingly before your eyes.
- Most offer a 12 or 18-month fix, based on monthly direct debit payments.
- Shorter fixes tend to be cheaper. The disadvantage is, you’ll have to go through the whole process at the end of it. If that sounds like too much hassle and you’re looking for a long-term relationship, opt for a longer fix.
- You can switch even if you are on a pre-pay meter, but the savings might not be as much.
- The downside: if you’re in debt, some companies make you pay it off before they’ll let you switch.
- The upside: if you’re in credit when you switch, your provider must give you the money back.
- You might have to take things slowly at first. The switching process should take around 21 days to complete.
- Parting shouldn’t be sweet sorrow. You don’t suddenly get your supplies cut off. Switching should be seamless. The only change you’ll see is the name of the provider on your paperwork.
- Different providers can have different priorities. Some will be all about getting people in with the lowest price (which doesn’t always stay low for long), others commit more to environmental initiatives or focus on helping people with energy debt. Make sure that you choose the one that works for you.
Many people are understandably nervous about switching suppliers, thinking they’ll suddenly be plunged into darkness. But, if you compare it to the dozens of different deals available on mobile phones for example, it’s not quite as scary.
Nothing changes but the provider and the price. You keep the same gas, electricity and no-one comes around asking for their pipes back and telling you they never want to see you again. So don’t worry: splitting up after all this time doesn’t have to be painful.