Knowing how to switch your gas and electricity suppliers can help you save money on your household bills.
There are so many other ways to save money on your household bills, and one of them is to manage your energy consumption.
This is very important particularly if you are spending much on gas and electricity. Do you also know that you can save money on your household bills if you make your home greener?
You can switch your gas and electricity suppliers to save more money if you discovered that you are being overcharged or your gas and electricity suppliers have been mis-sold to you.
Mis-selling, switching & your gas and electricity suppliers
Today, many of the energy firms have been accused of “Del Boy” sales tactics when encouraging people to switch their gas and electricity providers on the doorstep.
The Energy and Climate Change Committee of the House of Commons says mis-selling is an issue that should have been dealt with years ago, although an industry body claims that rules on sales have been tightened.
How to switch your gas and electricity suppliers
So how can consumers ensure they are better off, without running the risk of being tricked on the doorstep? The best deals are available for those with access to the internet, but people who are not online can still make savings.
Before looking around, Ofgem advises people to work out how much they spend every week or month, to have the exact name of their current tariff to hand, and ensure they know their postcode.
Copies of recent bills, and the new annual statement – which energy companies are obliged to send out – would also be useful.
The next stage involves some simple choices:
- Will your existing supplier offer a better deal? This might include help for those who are ill, disabled or of pension age
- Shopping around using price comparison websites. A list of accredited sites is available from watchdog Consumer Focus
- Calling energy suppliers direct to see what deals they have at the time of asking
Consumer Focus also provides fact sheets on prices charged by the major suppliers that can be used for reference.
Which? points out that off-peak electricity tariffs, such as Economy 7 and Economy 10, are best suited to people who use more than 60% of their electricity late at night, such as those who heat their homes using storage heaters.
Debts to a supplier of more than £200 would usually have to be cleared before a customer can switch.
Making the move/change
After finding a better deal, or deciding to sign up to a fixed-term deal which offers certainty on monthly payments, there is a set timescale for switching.
Switching can take between six and eight weeks, during which time the old supplier continues to provide energy. There will be no interruption to supply.
However, there is a chance that the price of the new deal might change in that period. The consumers’ association Which? is calling for new rules that would ensure tariffs cannot change during the time it takes to switch, plus one month.
If a customer changes their mind, they have seven working days from the time they signed the contract to pull out without being charged.
Switching before a fixed-term deal expires might incur a charge. Tenants in rented accommodation should also check with their landlord or housing association before signing up to a new deal.
Which? also suggests considering other ways of cutting bills, such as looking into energy efficiency grants for loft insulation, ensuring the electricity meter is read regularly, and checking direct debit payments match energy use.