Getting the best energy deal
Switching energy suppliers could save you a lot of money. It may seem like a lot of effort, but you may not be on the most cost-effective energy tariff for you, particularly if you've never switched or haven't for a while.
You don't always have to switch supplier to get a better deal. You can see what other deals your current supplier offers, some of which may save you money.
What information do I need to compare deals?
Before you start comparing different deals, you should have this information ready:
- name of your current supplier and current tariff
- 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 in future
- your postcode
How do I find out about deals on offer?
Your supplier will offer a range of tariffs, some of which may work out cheaper for you. Your bills and other statements should give you some possible cheaper options, or you can call your supplier to ask.
You may save more money by switching to a different supplier. Switching supplier doesn’t change the energy you receive at all, just who you pay for it, so there’s no need to change any pipes or cables. This also means you don’t need to worry about an interruption to your energy supply when switching.
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. However, it can be easier to use a Price Comparison Website to compare tariffs as there are a large number on offer.
Which Price Comparison Website should I use?
It's important to use an impartial website. Look for the Confidence Code logo, which is a sign that the site has signed up to Ofgem’s voluntary code of practice and will offer independent and unbiased comparisons.
Many Ofgem-accredited websites also offer a telephone service you can use if you’re not online. Here are some accredited websites that carry the Confidence Code and offer a telephone service:
How do I choose the best energy deal for me?
When comparing prices, ask yourself:
- Are there any special offers or discounts? If so, how long will these run for?
- Are there any extra or hidden charges?
- Is the payment schedule and method right for you? Direct debit is usually the cheapest method, saving an average of £100 a year compared with paying by cash, card or cheque, but you may feel more comfortable paying on receipt of a bill.
- How much is the standing charge and the consumption charge? The standing charge is a fixed amount that covers the cost of maintaining your supply, and the consumption charge is the amount you’re charged for the gas or electricity you use. Some companies have a low standing charge and balance this with a high consumption charge.
How do I switch energy supplier?
When you’ve found the right tariff, you can switch via a Price Comparison Website or by calling the supplier. If you're switching suppliers, your new supplier will contact your current one to carry out the 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. If you’re in credit with your current supplier, make sure you claim the money back from them when you switch.