Reducing the price of electricity or gas
You’ll probably save money on your gas and electricity bills by switching to a new supplier.
Things to consider before you switch
You should check:
- whether you have a fixed-term contract that lets your supplier charge you a fee to leave - this is called an exit fee and you can check it on your energy bill
- what the customer service rating is like for the potential new supplier
- whether your current supplier offers a cheaper tariff - it will save you the effort of switching
If you get the Warm Home Discount (a benefit for pensioners and people on a low income), check whether the new supplier offers it - you’ll lose it if they don’t.
If you’ve applied for the Warm Home Discount but not yet got it, you'll have to apply again if you switch supplier. Your new supplier might have different rules about who gets it. This doesn’t apply if you get the Warm Home Discount automatically.
Choosing the right tariff
There are different factors you should consider about energy tariffs to find the right one for you.
For example, you might want:
- a flexible tariff that you can get out of at any time
- an environmentally-friendly tariff
- the cheapest tariff available
You may also need a specific tariff for the energy meter you have - for example, if you have a prepayment meter or ‘dual rate’ meter.
If you’re unsure, read our guide to energy tariffs before you switch.
How to switch supplier
Follow these steps to switch energy supplier:
- Compare tariffs from different suppliers.
- Once you’ve found one, call the supplier - they’ll set up the switch and tell your old supplier. Alternatively, you can switch online.
- Take a meter reading on the day of the transfer to give to your new supplier - this means they won’t charge you for energy used before the switch.
- Pay your old supplier’s final bill or get a refund if you’re in credit.
Once the switch has started, you’ll also need to give the new supplier your energy meter reference numbers, known as ‘MPRN’ or ‘MPAN’ numbers. This will make sure they switch your energy supply and not someone else's. You can find these numbers on your energy bill.
How long it should take to switch
Switching to a new supplier should take around 17 days, but often takes up to 3 weeks.
The new supplier should contact you to tell you what day your supply should be switched. If you're switching both gas and electricity, these will normally happen on different dates.
If it takes longer than 17 days, contact the supplier to find out why. You can make a complaint if you’re not happy with their explanation. Some energy companies are signed up to the Energy Switch Guarantee - if your company is signed up but not sticking to the rules, you can mention this in your complaint.
Changing your mind about switching supplier
Once you enter into a contract with the new supplier (this could be done verbally on the phone), you have 14 days to change your mind and cancel the switch. You should contact the new supplier to let them know.
If you cancel your contract after 14 days, you may be charged a fee.
Further help from an Adviser
For an energy appointment with a local Citizens Advice adviser in Dorset, please call 01929 775500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org