Switching may seem daunting, especially if you've always been with the same supplier, but you could potentially save up to £200, particularly if you have never switched before.
Find the best tariff
There are 6 major suppliers of gas and electricity covering the UK, but smaller regional suppliers may also offer a good deal. You can find their best deals by:
1. Using a price comparison site
The internet is perhaps the easiest way to shop around. You can enter your details into a price comparison website and it will list the best deals available. Many also offer a telephone service. Make sure you use an impartial site with an Ofgem accredited logo.
Find an Ofgem accredited price comparison site
2. Contacting energy suppliers directly
You can contact a supplier directly to ask about their best deals. They should be able to give you this information over the phone or send you pricing details on request.
What you need to compare tariffs
You should have this information when comparing different deals:
- Name of your current supplier and current tariff. This is on your bill.
- How much you spent on electricity and gas in the last year. Look at past bills or ask your current supplier, otherwise work it out approximately.
- How you currently pay, e.g. cheque or direct debit.
- How you would like to pay with a new supplier.
- Your postcode.
Know these answers before switching
Before you switch, ask yourself these questions:
- Are there special offers or discounts included in the price? If so, how long will they run?
- Are there any extra or hidden charges?
- Is the payment schedule and method right for you? A prepayment meter is one way of spreading your payments, but it can be more expensive and inconvenient if you can’t get out to charge your card.
- Are you sure your gas or energy supply won’t be interrupted when you switch?
- How much is the standing charge and the consumption charge? The standing charge is a fixed amount which covers the cost of maintaining your supply and the consumption charge is what you pay for the gas and electricity you use. Check both to get an idea of what you could actually end up paying.
Not everyone can switch
You may not be able to switch if you:
- rent - check with your landlord first
- owe money to your supplier - they can stop you from switching to another supplier until your debt is paid off. However, if you have a prepayment meter, you can transfer debts of up to £200 to a new supplier.
How long does it take to switch?
Switching normally takes 17 or 18 days, which includes a two week cooling off period during which you can cancel the switch without penalty.
Our factsheet, Switching energy supplier, offers detailed information on how to shop around and explains the different tariff options.
Switching energy supplier (PDF 122 KB)