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Energy switching myths busted

Energy switching myths busted

Considering switching your energy is supposed to be one of the easiest things you can do, there are a lot of misconceptions and myths about the process that put people off doing it. If you think switching energy will mean you’ll get charged twice or lose your power supply, think again.

Run an energy comparison to see how much you could save

Temperatures are dropping by the day, so make sure you're not overpaying for your energy by switching to a fixed deal now. Enter your postcode below to get started.

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."

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!

Myth #2: "I don't need to switch as I'm protected by the energy price cap."

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 actually had the opposite effect when the cap level was raised in April 2019, with more than 30 providers raising their prices.

Although the price cap will be lowered (on 1 October 2019) to £1,179, this still won't save customers as much as they could save with a fixed deal. Additionally, with the price cap level due to be reviewed every six months, the situation could change so much that it's worth just signing up to a fixed deal so you always know what you're paying.

Myth #3: "Someone will have to come into my house or garden and change my pipes/meter/cables."

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.

Myth #4: "Switching energy is just too complicated."

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.

Run an energy comparison to see how much you could save

Temperatures are dropping by the day, so make sure you're not overpaying for your energy by switching to a fixed deal now. Enter your postcode below to get started.

Myth #5: "My energy supply will be interrupted."

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.

Myth #6: "I’m renting my home, 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. 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.

Myth #7: "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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