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Energy switching myths

Energy switching mythbusters

Think switching energy will mean you’ll get charged twice or have to install a new meter? Think again.

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The average household’s energy bill has skyrocketed £800 since 2004 — with £300 of that increase being added on since 2010. And now, 2.4 million homes are classified as living in fuel poverty.

In light of this, former-Energy Secretary Ed Davey urged consumers to get switched on to switching energy. But, between March 2012 and March 2013, a shockingly low number — just 16% — of UK homes switched energy supplier.

This means 84% of British households are missing out on savings of close to £300.

uSwitch research found that this switch hesitancy is due to the many myths and misunderstandings that still surround the energy switching process.

Here, we take the most common myths and bust them wide open, revealing the truth behind suppliers, savings and the simplicity of switching.

Myth #1: “I’ll end up being charged twice while the energy companies do the hand over.”

Reality: You’re not alone if you mistakenly believe this one — 15% of uSwitch survey respondents were also worried that this would happen.

However, you will not be double-charged for your supply at any point in your switch. In the vast majority of cases* your new supplier will only start billing you from your ‘go live’ date.

This date is a day agreed between your previous and new suppliers, so both providers are well aware the timings. All you have to do is pay your final bill to your previous supplier.

*Some independent suppliers may charge you in advance, as will some advance pay tariffs offered by companies such as Spark Energy. Costs will, however, be calculated to make sure you do not overpay, so even if you are charged before your go live date, you will not pay a penny extra!

Myth #2: “Someone will have to come into my house/my garden and change my pipes/meter/cables.”

Reality: There is no need to change any equipment over when switching energy. That includes your meter or any pipes. All suppliers use the same facilities to supply your energy, and no works need to be carried out in or around your home.

Myth #3: “I know I should do it, but it’s just too complicated.”

Reality: Considering the energy suppliers’ notoriously complex system for billing customers, it’s not surprising that 40% of those who had never switched before believed it would be complicated.

However, all you need to run an energy comparison is a recent energy bill and your postcode. You can do the entire switch process online, and even have a two-week 'cooling off' period if you change your mind.

In fact, 85% of those who went through with a switch reported finding the process easy.

Take back control of your energy bills with uSwitch!

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Myth # 4: “My supply will be interrupted.”

Reality: You will not notice any change throughout the switchover and at no time will your supply stop. The only difference will be that your bills will come from another company.

Myth #5: “I’m a tenant, so I can’t change my gas or electricity supplier.”

Reality: Unless your landlord pays your utilities directly, this is categorically untrue. Some tenants simply don’t realise they can switch, while others may have been told by their landlords that it wasn’t possible.

For more information and help approaching your landlord about energy savings, read our Tenants' Guide to Energy Switching.

Myth # 6: “I’m in debt to my current supplier, so I can’t switch.”

Reality: If you’re on a prepayment meter and you owe less than £500, you can switch to a cheaper energy plan. If you owe more than £500 to your energy supplier you can read about your options in our Energy debt guide.

Still have questions about switching gas and electricity? You can read our Energy switching FAQs page or get help with our Energy switching step-by-step guide.

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Take back control of your energy bills with uSwitch!

We make it easy to compare and save up to £679