Energy switching questions and answers

Energy switching - questions & answers

Switching your energy supplier can be a daunting prospect, but it's easy with the uSwitch switching service.

We've pulled together the most common questions about switching to help you get started.

What is uSwitch?

uSwitch is a free online and telephone comparison and switching service that helps you to save money on gas and electricity. We're regulated and monitored by Consumer Focus, so you're in safe hands.

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    Upset about the price increases with my present supplier. I was fed up with the prices being increased every few months. They haven't tried to keep the prices down, even when they prices of gas and electricity is low it's not reflected in their own prices which makes me angry because I remember when things were nationalized.

    We all paid the same amount now we have the hassle of trying to find the best tariff. The uncertainty of modern life is full of hassle, and I'm fed up of ringing around to try and get the best prices, it's taken hours and hours up my life.

    It [uSwitch] was fast and easy, just a matter of clicking a button once they gave me the different prices which came very quickly. I rang up my past supplier and asked them about my usage for the last year, and I put those figures into the engine of uSwitch. Well not only have I saved time, but I have saved over 200 pounds.

    I would recommend you switch to anybody, all friends and family. I just wanted to do it on the computer. It's so quick you don't have to wait for someone to answer the phone.

Can I really save money by switching energy suppliers?

You could save up to £383 by switching to your cheapest energy supplier . Suppliers are always changing their tariffs and prices so, regardless of which company you're with, you might still be able to save a substantial amount. You should check uSwitch regularly to make sure you're still getting a good deal.

What's involved in switching energy suppliers with uSwitch?

The following process will take just a few minutes of your time:

  • Compare all of the suppliers and plans using the uSwitch calculator.
  • Select the best value deal for you and complete the switching details required. To compare and switch takes around five minutes.

Then sit back and wait:

  • uSwitch will send you an email to confirm the switch.
  • The details are processed and forwarded to the supplier.
  • The supplier will contact you to confirm the date on which your new service will commence. You will have to take a meter reading on this date, to ensure you're not billed twice for the same energy.

It takes between four to six weeks to fully complete your switch. Your new supplier will aim to switch you in the shortest time possible.  For more information, read our guide to switching your gas and electricity .

Will there be any interruption to my supply?

No. Your new supplier will continue to use exactly the same wires, pipes and meters as you currently use. Your new supplier will also contact your existing supplier to arrange the transfer of your supply.

The only change you will notice is the company name at the top of your bill and less money coming out of your bank!

If I decide to switch, do I need to contact my current energy supplier?

Your new supplier will arrange the transfer for you. However, you should ensure that your new supplier takes a final meter reading from you (at the date of transfer), so your current supplier can produce a final bill.

I'm not sure who my current supplier is, how can I find out?

If you are not sure who is currently supplying gas and/or electricity to your property, you should:

  • review any recent bills you may have paid
  • contact the Meter Number Helpline on 0870 608 1524 and they will tell you who your current gas supplier is
  • ask your landlord or letting agency, or contact your regional electricity supplier. You can obtain their phone number from directory enquiries

Learn more about finding out who supplies your electricity and gas.

How do I know if my new energy supplier is reliable?

uSwitch commissioned YouGov, one of the UK's leading market research companies to conduct a survey of gas and electricity customers. With our survey results you will be able to get an insight into customers' satisfaction with their current gas and electricity suppliers and read customers' reviews.

What if I'm moving house?

If you're moving house, here's what you need to do to make sure you get the cheapest gas and electricity bills in your new house.

  1. Find out who the current supplier is at your new property . If the previous occupier of your house hasn't left you any information, you can find out who your gas supplier is by calling the Meter Number Helpline on 0870 608 1524. To find out your electricity supplier, call your local electricity distribution company - the number will be in the local phone directory under 'Electricity'. Learn more about finding out who supplies your electricity and gas.
  2. Call your supplier, and ask them to register you as the new occupier of the property. Ask them the name of the plan you're on at the same time.
  3. Run a price comparison. Use energy comparison sites such as uSwitch and run a comparison. We'll ask you for information about your energy usage, but it doesn't matter if you don't know this - just select 'No details handy' and we'll ask questions about your property and lifestyle so we can estimate your usage. Then we'll show you your cheapest deal on gas and electricity, and you can complete your switch - simple!

Can I get gas and electricity from the same supplier?

Yes. Many suppliers now supply both gas and electricity and offer combined plans that include incentives, discounts or reduced prices. These plans are often referred to as " dual fuel " deals.

Do I have to change energy suppliers?

No. By comparing suppliers on uSwitch you can see how your current deal compares to other tariffs and suppliers in your area, but you're under no obligation to switch. However, you might find your current supplier is not giving you the best deal. Compare energy deals to see if you could save now.

MPRN (Gas Meter Point Reference Number) - what is it, and how do I find it?

Your MPRN is the unique identifying number for the gas meter at your property. Your MPRN is usually a ten digit number (although it can be shorter), commonly referred to as an "M" number, and can be found on your gas bill. If you can't locate your MPRN, you can call the Meter Number Helpline on 0870 608 1524. Your MPRN number is not on your gas meter itself.

MPAN (Electricity Supply Number) - what is it, and how do I find it?

Your MPAN is the unique identifying number for the electricity meter at your property. Your MPAN is commonly referred to as a "Supply Number" or "S" number, and it can be found on your electricity bill. If you can't locate your "S" number, you should contact your current electricity supplier, who will be able to tell you the number.

What do I do if I need help with switching?

You can contact the uSwitch customer service desk on: Tel: 0800 404 7908 (freephone) Fax: 0207 911 6102 Email: CustomerServices@uswitch.com

Opening hours are:

Monday to Thursday 8am - 9pm Friday 8am - 6pm Saturday 9am - 5pm Sunday: 10am - 5pm

You can also use our new Send Us Your Bill service - just send us copy of you bill and we'll do the rest.

What can I do to make my bills cheaper?

Energy companies offer lots of different tariffs and it can be hard to know which will be the cheapest plan for you. However, as a general rule, the cheapest plans on the market will be:

  • Dual fuel - you get both gas and electricity from one supplier.
  • Direct Debit - most suppliers offer discounts if you pay by Direct Debit rather than cash or cheque.
  • Online plans - this means you that you sign up to and manage the plan online.

What is Ofgem?

Ofgem, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, is the independent regulator of the gas and electricity industries.

Ofgem was formed in June 1999 by combining the functions of the former Office of Gas Supply (OFGAS) and the Office of Electricity Regulation (OFFER).

The body was set up by the government to protect the interests of all gas and electricity customers, and to promote competition in the supply and regulation of the gas and electricity industries throughout Great Britain.

Ofgem can be contacted on 020 7901 7000 , or by post at Ofgem, 9 Millbank, London SW1P 3GE. Find out more about Ofgem by visiting the Ofgem website.

Who deals with complaints about my new supplier?

If you have a complaint, you should try to resolve it with your energy supplier directly.

If you are not satisfied with their response, you can contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service. Go to Citizens Advice Consumer Service. The quickest and easiest ways to raise a complaint with Consumer Direct is to call or call on 08454 04 05 06.

I've got a prepayment meter - can I switch suppliers?

Yes. You can compare prices and switch to a cheaper prepayment tariff with uSwitch. Just select the 'prepayment' option when we ask you how you pay your bill and how you would like to pay your bill. Compare prepayment tariffs now.

What are Independent Gas Transporters (IGTs)? How do I know if I'm served by one and can I still switch?

Independent Gas Transporters (IGTs) are companies that own and operate the network of pipes that supply gas in some areas, rather than Transco or the National Grid, which do this for most homes in the country.

Many new homes are served by an Independent Gas Transporter, because they charge less to connect new properties, which can save the house builder money.

You can find out if you are served by an Independent Gas Transporter by looking at your gas meter number (also known as your MPRN number). If it starts with 74, 75, 76 or 77 then you are served by an Independent Gas Transporter. Learn how to find your MPRN Number.

If you get your gas via an IGT you may find that you pay more for it - this is because the gas company will have to pay the IGT a fee to use their pipes to deliver your gas.

At the moment, uSwitch isn't able to provide quotes specifically for IGT customers. However, you can still do a gas and electricity comparison using our service as normal, to see which suppliers and tariffs are the cheapest for your area.

We'd then suggest ringing the suppliers directly to find out how much those particular tariffs cost for IGT customers, so you get the most accurate idea of what will be cheapest for you.

I've got a prepayment meter - can I switch to a standard meter?

Yes, but it can be expensive. You may have to pay for a new meter to be fitted, which could cost upwards of £100.

You will usually have to have been with your energy supplier for a year before they will let you switch from a prepayment meter to a standard meter and you may also have to pay a security deposit and be credit checked.

To find out more about switching from a prepayment meter to a standard meter, speak to your energy supplier.

Are my bank details secure with uSwitch?

Yes, your bank details are completely safe. You can rest assured that any personal information will only be seen by uSwitch and your new energy supplier so that we can set up your new direct debit.

My question isn't on the list...

If you can't find the answer to your question, you can contact the uSwitch customer service team on 0800 404 7908 (freephone) or at CustomerServices@uswitch.com.

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