Switching energy is quick and easy, and you could save hundreds on your energy bills. Price comparison websites and suppliers have no incentive to make it difficult for customers to switch their energy. So what's stopping you?
Well, you might have heard some horror stories about switching on consumer watchdog programmes or in the news; or you might be worried about other potential downsides associated with the process.
Whatever your concern might be, our mythbuster guide is here to reveal the truth behind some of those common switching misconceptions.
Myth #1: "I’ll be charged twice while my new and old energy suppliers do the handover."
Myth #2: "I don't need to switch as I'm protected by the energy price cap."
Myth #3: "Someone will have to come into my house or garden and change my pipes/meter/cables."
Myth #6: "I’m renting my home, so I can’t change my gas or electricity supplier."
Myth #7: "I’m in debt to my current supplier, so I can’t switch."
Reality: When you're trying to save money by switching, the last thing you want to do is pay twice for your energy.
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 should be well aware of the timings. All you have to do is pay your final bill to your previous supplier. If you really want to make sure that you're not going to be charged twice, cancel your direct debit with your old supplier after their last payment has been taken.
*Some independent suppliers may charge you in advance, as will some advance pay tariffs. 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!
Reality: Ofgem's energy tariff cap came into effect in January 2019, and places a limit on the maximum amount suppliers can charge for the average bill on a standard variable tariff. But rather than preventing prices from rising, this can actually have the opposite effect.
In fact, the latest update to the price cap (announced August 2022 and in effect from 1 October 2022) brought a price rise of £2,500 due to high wholesale energy costs. This is the cap's highest ever level. However, it will be frozen until July 2023, providing customers with some certainty about the short-term energy situation.
Case study "I’ve saved a great deal of money using Uswitch, at least £2,000 across the years. My biggest saving had to be on my energy as I knocked off £35 a month with one switch, saving me £420 on my energy that year alone. The savings I make from switching are definitely enjoyable as I like to treat myself to a well-deserved facial or spa day. I always advise friends and family to use Uswitch to shop around and switch to get the best deals. We all work so hard for our money therefore we need to do what we can to save as much as possible to make our money go further."
Anita, Uswitch customer
Reality: There is no need to change any equipment over when switching energy, unless you've opted to have a smart meter installed. All suppliers use the same facilities to supply your energy, and no works need to be carried out in or around your home.
If you wanted to move your gas or electricity meter (as you might if you were having building work done), this would require external contractors coming in and conducting the work for you, as it's illegal for you to try and do it yourself.
Reality: Considering the energy suppliers’ notoriously complex system for billing customers, it’s not surprising that people expect switching to be complicated.
However, the actual process of switching couldn't be simpler. 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.
Reality: You won't notice any change throughout the switchover and your supply won't stop at any time. The energy that you receive all comes from the same place; it's just attributed to different suppliers for different households. Therefore, the only difference you'll notice will be that your bills will come from another company.
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. You can switch your energy supplier in exactly the same way as anyone who owns their home.
For more information and help approaching your landlord about energy savings, read our Tenants' Guide to Energy Switching.
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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