Energy UK, the trade association for the UK energy industry, launched the Energy Switch Guarantee (ESG) in 2016 to make it easier for customers to switch energy suppliers and find better deals. With a record 6.4 million people switching in 2019, the ESG has proven to be effective in increasing competition, lowering prices, and improving customer satisfaction. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the ins and outs of the Energy Switch Guarantee, how it works, and why it matters to consumers like you.
What does the term “Energy Switch Guarantee” mean?
The Energy Switch Guarantee is a voluntary pledge made by energy suppliers to ensure a smooth, hassle-free process for customers who want to switch their energy provider. It sets out a list of commitments that participating suppliers must adhere to, creating a standard of service that makes switching simple and efficient.
The 10 Commitments of the Energy Switch Guarantee
Seamless Transition: All energy providers use the same infrastructure, so your energy supply will not be interrupted during the switch.
Timely Switch: Your switch will be completed within 21 days from the date your new provider receives your application.
No Home Visit Required: In most cases, a home visit is not necessary to complete the switch unless you explicitly agree to it.
Supplier Responsibility: Your new energy provider will handle the entire switch, including contacting your current provider to inform them of the change.
Cooling-off Period: Your new energy provider will send you details of your new energy supply agreement, and you will have 14 days to change your mind and stay with your current provider if you wish.
No Double Charging: Your new and current providers will work together to ensure that you are not charged twice for the same energy during the switch.
Swift Issue Resolution: If any problems arise during the switch, your new provider will contact you promptly and take responsibility for resolving the issue.
Final energy bill: You will receive a final bill from your existing service provider within six weeks of the completion of the switch.
Refunds: If your existing supplier has any outstanding balance to reimburse, they will issue a refund to you within a fortnight after mailing the final invoice.
What is the process for ensuring the Energy Switch Guarantee?
When you decide to switch energy suppliers, the Energy Switch Guarantee ensures that the process is straightforward and efficient. Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how it works:
Compare Energy Deals: Use an energy price comparison website to find the best deals available in your area. Consider factors such as price, tariff type, and customer reviews.
Choose a New Supplier: Once you have found a supplier that offers a tariff that suits your needs, check if they are a signatory of the Energy Switch Guarantee. Look for the Energy Switch Guarantee logo on their website or marketing materials.
Start the Switch: Contact your chosen supplier to initiate the switch. They will handle all the necessary paperwork and communication with your current provider.
Cooling-off Period: During the 14-day cooling-off period, carefully review the details of your new energy supply agreement. If you change your mind, you can cancel the switch without any consequences and remain with your current provider.
Switch Completion: Assuming you proceed with the switch, your new energy provider will work with your current provider to ensure a smooth transition of your energy supply. The switch should be completed within 21 days, and you will start receiving energy from your new supplier.
Final Bill and Refunds: Your current provider will send you a final bill within six weeks of the switch. If you are owed any money, such as a credit balance, they should refund it to you within 14 days of sending the final bill.
Throughout the entire process, the Energy Switch Guarantee ensures that you are protected and that any issues are promptly addressed by your new energy provider.
The Benefits of the Energy Switch Guarantee
The Energy Switch Guarantee offers several advantages to customers who are considering switching energy suppliers:
Increased Competition: The guarantee has fostered greater competition among energy suppliers, leading to a wider range of tariffs and better deals for consumers. Suppliers now strive to offer competitive prices and customer-centric services to attract and retain customers.
Lower Prices: With increased competition, customers have the opportunity to find lower-priced energy tariffs. According to Ofgem, customers who switch energy suppliers can save an average of £200 per year on their energy bills.
Hassle-Free Switching: The Energy Switch Guarantee streamlines the switching process, eliminating unnecessary delays and paperwork. It gives customers peace of mind that their switch will be completed efficiently and without disruption to their energy supply.
Improved Customer Service: Participating energy suppliers are committed to resolving any issues that may arise during the switch. This focus on customer service ensures that customers receive the support they need throughout the process.
Environmental Impact: The guarantee has also contributed to environmental benefits by encouraging customers to switch to renewable energy suppliers. Many suppliers now offer green tariffs, allowing customers to support renewable energy projects and reduce their carbon footprint.
Does the Energy Switch Guarantee work effectively?
The Energy Switch Guarantee has proven to be highly effective in facilitating the switching process and improving customer satisfaction. Energy UK reports that in the first three months of 2020, participating energy suppliers successfully completed 99.2% of switches within 21 days. This demonstrates the commitment of suppliers to meet the guarantee’s standards and deliver a seamless experience for customers.
Furthermore, the guarantee has empowered millions of customers to take control of their energy bills and find better deals. The record-breaking number of switches in 2019 indicates a growing awareness and confidence among consumers in the benefits of switching suppliers.
Is there a fee for the Energy Switch Guarantee?
No, the Energy Switch Guarantee is available to customers free of charge. Switching energy suppliers should not incur any additional fees or costs beyond the normal charges associated with the energy tariff you choose.
It is important to note that there are some services in the market that charge customers for switching them. It is recommended to avoid using such services, as switching can be done independently and free of charge using reputable price comparison websites.
Are all energy providers enrolled in the Energy Switch Promise?
While the Energy Switch Guarantee has gained significant support from the energy industry, not all suppliers have signed up to the pledge. As of [November 2021], there are 8 energy suppliers that have committed to the guarantee. These suppliers include British Gas, E.ON, EDF Energy, Octopus Energy, ScottishPower, Shell Energy, So Energy, and SSE
It is worth checking if your desired energy supplier is a signatory of the Energy Switch Guarantee before initiating the switch. This will ensure that you can benefit from the guarantee’s commitments and have a seamless switching experience.
The Energy Switch Guarantee has revolutionized the process of switching energy suppliers in the UK. By providing a set of commitments that participating suppliers must adhere to, the guarantee ensures a smooth, hassle-free switch for customers. With increased competition, lower prices, and improved customer service, the Energy Switch Guarantee empowers consumers to take control of their energy bills and find the best deals available.
If you are considering switching energy suppliers, take advantage of the Energy Switch Guarantee and explore the options available to you. By comparing tariffs and choosing a supplier that is part of the guarantee, you can save money and contribute to a more sustainable energy future.
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