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How to switch energy supplier

How to switch energy supplier

Worried that switching energy supplier will be a long and complex process? It’s quick and easy when you know how.

Increases in wholesale energy costs have meant that as of September 2021, fewer deals are available on price comparison sites. It's a good idea to assess all your options before you switch.

Read on for our step by step guide on how to switch energy supplier, or get started by entering your postcode below:

Compare energy prices here

It's a good idea to compare energy regularly to see what the latest prices mean for you, even though there are fewer deals available. Enter your postcode to get started.

Uswitch · How To Switch Energy Supplier

What information do I need to switch energy supplier?

To change energy provider with Uswitch, you only need your postcode, a recent energy bill and about 10 minutes. If you want to pay your energy bills by Direct Debit (which is usually the cheapest option), you’ll also need your bank details to hand.

Don’t worry if you can’t find an energy bill or annual statement. We can estimate how much gas and electricity you use based on a few simple questions about your household. We’ll then use those rates to give you an estimate of how much you could save by switching your gas and electricity suppliers

How to switch energy supplier online

Step 1: Enter your postcode at Uswitch.com

Gas and electricity prices are set regionally, and some suppliers only serve certain areas. Enter your postcode on the Uswitch website or in the box above, and we’ll narrow down which energy plans are available for you to switch to.

Step 2: Enter your energy usage

To tell you exactly how much you could save by switching energy suppliers, we’ll need to know how much you use. You can find your consumption details on a recent bill or your annual energy statement.

If you don't have these to hand, you can tell us how much you spend on your gas and electricity bills or answer a few questions about your home to get an estimate of your usage.

If you have a bill but can’t find the info you need, check out our guide on how to read your energy bill or watch the video below:

  • Read the Transcript

    Amy: Hi Tom, I’ve got my energy bill here. It’s very confusing. I need some help because there’s a lot of numbers. I don’t know what information I need to get from it. And, I want to switch but I don’t really know where to start.

    Tom: I’m not surprised. It’s incredibly complicated, there’s loads of different terms that no normal person really understands. The good news is, though, if you do persevere, and we can help go through your bill and pick out some of those important facts, the good news is that there are hundreds of pounds worth of savings available if you can manage it.

    Amy: That’s good. I could do a lot with that haha.

    Tom: So is this your bill?

    Amy: Yes.

    Tom: Cool. Okay, I see you’re with British Gas. They’re the largest supplier, and they’re one of the example bills that we’ve got on our website. Do you know what tariff you’re on?

    Amy: No, I don’t think so.

    Tom: Okay, cool. So, it tells you here (points at bill). It says that you’re on their standard tariff. Now, a supplier’s standard tariff is essentially their most rubbish tariff that you’re going to be on if you’ve never done anything about it. So, if you’ve never switched, it’s their kind of default tariff. There’s no benefits, there’s no security, and the prices aren’t particularly cheap. So, if you can, it’s good to get off that as quickly as possible.

    Amy: Right.

    Tom: Do you know how you pay for your energy?

    Amy: Yes. I know I pay by Direct Debit but I don’t really know how much.

    Tom: Okay, well it tells you here. You’re paying a monthly direct debit, which is good. That’s one of the cheaper ways to pay, and you’re paying £116 per month.

    Amy: Okay.

    Tom: This is the one to really pay attention to. This is your actual usage of gas in the last 12 months. So that’s 16,266kWh. Now that’s slightly above average use, but it’s generally consistent with what people do use. And, that’s what you need to switch. So you don’t need your unit rate, you don’t need your standing charge, but it is helpful to know how much you’ve used over the last 12 months. And then all of that information we’ve just discussed; there’s another page and that gives you all of the same information for electricity.

    Amy: Right.

    Tom: So, again you have your annual consumption, you have your standing charge, and you have your unit rates.

    Amy: Okay.

    Tom: I imagine this is a bit of a mind boggle but the very last thing which I want to show you, which you sometimes need, very rarely but you sometimes need, are your meter numbers.

    Amy: Okay. Why would I need that to switch?

    Tom: So your meter number is a number that uniquely defines your meter. So, it makes absolutely certain that your electricity meter is switched rather than your neighbour’s.

    Amy: Okay.

    Tom: Which is good. So, in 99.5% of cases, we can just look up your meter number and find it and you won’t have to worry about it at all. So chances are you’ll never have to worry about this. But in the rare occasion that we do ask you for it, it’s here on the last page of your bill.

    Amy: Oh right so I don’t have to go and find my meter in my house.

    Tom: Oh no, no, it’s on your bill. You don’t have to go hunting in dark, cold cupboards anywhere.

    Amy: Okay good.

    Tom: So this is your gas meter number here. And then this is your electricity meter number here.

    Amy: The whole thing, like that?

    Tom: The whole thing, just like that. And actually, when you go through our site it will be presented like that and there will be little bits for you to fill in.

    Amy: Okay, that’s clear.

    Tom: Yes.

    Amy: Thanks Tom, I feel like I understand my energy bill a lot better now.

    Tom: Great, and if you have any other questions you can probably find the answers on our website, or you can give us a call.

Step 3: Choose your new energy tariff

With more than 50 energy suppliers on the market, finding the right one can seem an impossible task. We make it easy by displaying the plans we can help you switch to, ordered by cost or how much you could save by switching.

If you want to narrow down the results, you can filter by what’s important to you – whether you’re looking for a green energy plan, a long fix or one without an early exit fee.

Step 4: Confirm your energy switch

The final step in switching energy suppliers is to confirm your switch. To do this, you need to provide your full address and bank details so your new supplier can set up a Direct Debit.

That’s it! We’ll put your new and old supplier in contact with each other and they’ll arrange a switchover date.

Customer review "As I have registered with Uswitch I am kept informed if a new tariff comes along that is £50 or more cheaper than the one I am currently using. Uswitch told me about one and so I switched. I found it very easy. The database shows me all energy suppliers and how much it would cost based on my current usage, and then I simply select the one I want. I would choose Uswitch again as it saves me time searching for new rates."

Tom, Uswitch customer

Tips for switching energy supplier

Save time when switching

Switching gas and electricity is a very quick process that can be done in minutes. However, to make things even quicker, gather all your key information before you start so it’s at hand when you need it. To get the most accurate savings figures, you’ll need to know how much energy you use and how much you’re paying for it. Both of these numbers should be on a recent bill.

Know your energy meters

Before you switch energy, there are a few things you’ll need to know about your home and the gas and electricity meters you already have in place. We’ll ask you whether you have a standard credit meter, prepayment meter or Economy 7 meter, as that will determine the type of energy tariff you can switch to.

You’ll know you’re on a standard credit meter if you pay for your energy by Direct Debit or regular billing, whereas prepayment meters need topping up with a key, token or app. If you’ve got an Economy 7 meter, you’ll see two different rates on your electricity bill – one for daytime use and one for evening use.

If you’re looking to switch energy supplier at a business premises, head to our partners Uswitch for Business for guidance on switching energy suppliers in commercial properties.

Choose the right energy tariff

When you compare energy with Uswitch, we’ll show you both fixed and variable gas and electricity tariffs. Fixed energy tariffs guarantee the price you pay for each unit of energy for the whole of the fixed contract (usually 12-18 months) while variable tariffs can go up or down depending on what’s happening in the energy market.

We’ll also need to know whether you’d like a dual fuel tariff or whether you’d like to switch gas or electricity tariffs separately. If you use both gas and electricity in your home, it can often work out cheaper to get both fuels from the same supplier under a dual fuel tariff.

If you’re keen to switch to a renewable energy plan, look out for the green badge on your energy comparison results. Many energy tariffs now offer some level of renewable energy, so as well as saving money you can be sure you’re doing your bit to save the planet too. Under our unique Green Accreditation scheme we’ve categorised tariffs into Bronze, Silver and Gold levels depending on how renewable their energy is.

Consider customer reviews

When it comes to switching energy supplier, you’re probably hoping for a big saving. But while price is important, you’ll also want to make sure your new supplier offers great service. Our energy comparison includes independent star ratings based on real customer reviews, so you can get to know your new energy supplier before you switch.

Don’t dismiss small suppliers

While you’re comparing energy suppliers with Uswitch, you might come across some brand names you haven’t heard of. Many smaller suppliers offer competitive pricing and have great customer reviews, so be sure to consider them for your energy switch.

Avoid exit fees

If you’re currently on a fixed energy plan that hasn’t expired yet, your supplier may charge you an exit fee (usually around £60) if you want to switch. When you compare energy with Uswitch, we’ll let you know if there are any exit fees to pay on your current tariff. Exit fees are usually waived around 49 days before your plan ends, so if you’d rather wait until then, we’ll tell you when it’s time to switch energy without having to pay a fee to your supplier. If you’ve never switched energy before or it’s been a while, your plan has likely come to an end and you’re free to switch and save.

Set up a Direct Debit

When you compare standard energy plans with Uswitch, the price you’ll see is based on a monthly Direct Debit payment. While many energy suppliers will offer you the choice to pay in other ways, such as by cheque, you’ll usually be offered a discount for paying by Direct Debit. So as well as making payments easier, your energy bills could be smaller too if you choose to pay this way.

How do I switch energy suppliers if I’m moving home?

When you’re moving house, gas and electricity bills might be low on your list of priorities. But it’s handy to know how to switch energy supplier if you want to ensure you’re not paying too much to power your new home.

You should notify your current energy supplier at least 48 hours before the move, so they can close your account and send your final bill to your new address. Make sure you take a meter reading on the day you move to ensure your last bill is accurate.

You’ll need to take another meter reading at your new home on the day you move in, then contact the supplier of the new property (read about how to find out who your supplier is here). The supplier can transfer the account into your name, but remember it might not be the cheapest energy deal for you. Moving house is a great opportunity to save on your energy, so start by entering your new postcode on Uswitch. You can find out more about how to switch energy supplier when moving home in our guide.

What happens after I switch energy supplier?

Uswitch · What Happens After I Switch Energy Supplier

Want to know what to expect when you switch? Here are a few common questions answered:

Will my energy supply be interrupted when I switch supplier?

No. Regardless of what supplier you’re with, your gas and electricity supply will be the same as before. All that changes is the company that bills you and the rate charged for your energy. There won’t be any interruption to your supply, and nobody will need to visit your home unless you’ve opted to have a smart meter installed as part of your new tariff.

How long does it take to switch energy supplier?

While the energy comparison process can take just a few minutes, the entire energy switching process should take a maximum of three weeks. Most of the suppliers we work with adhere to the Energy Switch Guarantee, which means your energy switch should take no more than 21 days from the date your new provider receives your completed application. If you’ve switched both gas and electricity suppliers, the dates may be different for each. Don’t worry though, your energy supply will not be interrupted at any point.

Will I hear from my new energy supplier?

You’ll receive a welcome pack and letter or email from your new supplier within a few days of switching. This will outline what you’ve agreed to and give you the details of your new plan. Remember to provide your starting meter read to them when they request it, as they will give this to your old supplier to use for your final bill.

Will I be billed twice?

No. Both energy companies will agree a switchover date, so you won’t be billed twice for the same period. You can cancel your Direct Debit with your old supplier if you wish, but make sure you wait until the switch is complete.

What if I change my mind about my energy switch?

You have a cooling off period of 14 days. If you decide that you no longer want to change energy provider, just contact your new supplier and let them know. They will be able to cancel the switch for you without interrupting your supply.

When can I switch energy supplier without penalty?

If you switch energy provider while you’re still in your fixed deal period, you may have to pay an exit fee. When you compare with Uswitch, we’ll let you know if your exit fee still applies or if you can switch without penalty. Your exit fee is usually waived up to 49 days before the end of your contract, so you’ve got plenty of time to shop around and start the process of switching energy supplier before your fixed deal comes to an end. You can read more about the best time to switch energy provider in our guide.

How often can I switch energy suppliers?

It’s best to switch your energy tariff whenever your fixed deal is due to end, to avoid being rolled onto your supplier’s standard variable tariff. There’s really no hard and fast rule as to how often you can switch energy suppliers, but it’s wise to take any exit fees into account if your fixed deal doesn’t end for a while.

Once you've switched gas and electricity suppliers with us once, it's now even easier to switch year after year. Enter your details once and you'll never need to enter them again - you can switch in as little as one click. Find out more here.

Compare energy prices here

It's a good idea to compare energy regularly to see what the latest prices mean for you, even though there are fewer deals available. Enter your postcode to get started.

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