How Early Can You Switch Energy Suppliers?

September 14th, 2021
How Early Can You Switch Energy Suppliers?

According to Energy UK, 6 million customers switched electricity suppliers in 2020. Despite lower switching levels compared to the previous year, almost half a million UK customers moved to a new supplier every month throughout 2020. Switching can be the key to cost savings.

Choosing the best time to switch energy providers can be tough. On the one hand, you might not have considered switching until you’ve been paying expensive tariffs for some time. On the other hand, you may have been notified about an opportunity to pay less.

So, how early can you switch energy suppliers without incurring costly penalties? Read on to find out.

According to Energy UK, 6 million customers switched electricity suppliers in 2020. Despite lower switching levels compared to the previous year, almost half a million UK customers moved to a new supplier every month throughout 2020. Switching can be the key to cost savings.

Choosing the best time to switch energy providers can be tough. On the one hand, you might not have considered switching until you’ve been paying expensive tariffs for some time. On the other hand, you may have been notified about an opportunity to pay less.

So, how early can you switch energy suppliers without incurring costly penalties? Read on to find out.

How Early Can You Switch Energy Providers?

You can imagine your energy provider contract like your mobile phone contract — once you’ve signed up and committed, you’re normally tied in until the contract expires.

When you sign up with an energy supplier, you’re usually tied into a contract that lasts either 12, 18 or 24 months. This, of course, depends on the individual supplier and contract you chose.

That said, since February 2019, Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) regulations have meant that your energy provider cannot charge you any exit fees if you switch within 49 days of the end of your current energy contract.

The Flip Side: What Happens If You Don’t Switch Energy Fast Enough?

The same Ofgem regulations mandate that UK energy suppliers must actively identify when each consumer is likely to want to consider or could benefit from switching their energy supply. This occurs at least once every 12 months, and it’s up to the supplier themselves to prompt for change as they deem appropriate.

Unfortunately, the consequence of missing your 49-day window is a penalty fee if you’d like to switch providers while you’re still on a fixed plan. You should also be aware that most suppliers will have a set exit fee that must be paid if you want to leave. Don’t let unexpected fees cost you unnecessary money and time.

How to Switch Energy Providers with Ease

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to let energy usage and thinking about suppliers slip out of mind. But did you know that switching energy suppliers is one of the most cost-efficient ways to keep on top of household bills?

Here are a few of our top tips that explain how to switch energy providers with ease:

Gather all your essential information

The good news is that switching energy suppliers doesn’t need to be a hassle. In fact, it’s easier than you might think, and there are plenty of tools to help make it a breeze. But, before you commit to a new provider, you’ll need to collect some essential information.

To switch energy suppliers, you’ll need the following information to hand:

  • Your current supplier/energy company
  • The name of your current tariff
  • How much you pay (in KwH) each month
  • Your postcode
  • Your bank details

When it does come time to compare your options, the smart move is to compare more than just prices. Consider exit fees along with any hidden incidentals to make sure you’re getting the best price for your energy bill.

Find the best time to switch

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to finding the best time to switch energy suppliers. But, there are a number of elements you can consider to identify the best time for your household.

Make a move before the winter months. It’s no secret that the average energy consumption goes up in the colder weather. If you’re due a switch or you’re not on a fixed tariff, comparing energy prices in the summer months can help you save money with a cheaper tariff down the line.

Knowing when you’re coming to the end of your current tariff is key. Less expensive ‘new customer’ deals and offers almost always expire after a set period. Standard energy tariffs are often significantly more expensive, so be sure to keep an eye on your contract dates.

Look to see when energy prices are expected to rise

You may hear through the grapevine that the wholesale price of energy is going to rise. This is a sure-fire sign that it may be time to look for a fixed-rate tariff so that you don’t end up forking out more for your household energy bill. Compared to fixed-rate contracts, variable tariff prices reflect the wholesale price of energy.

When fluctuations are on the horizon, make your move to protect yourself. Find out more about the upcoming October 2021 energy price increase in our recent news article.

Our top tip is to stay up to date with news and new tariffs launched by energy supply companies in the UK. A great source for energy-related news can be found regularly on the Free Price Compare News page.

How Much Can You Save By Comparing Energy Prices?

Energy price increases are almost inevitable. The key to saving on your household energy bill is to compare your options and switch to the cheapest provider for you.

According to Ofgem, people on default tariffs paying by direct debit will see an increase of £139 from £1,138 to £1277 from 1 October, due to an increase in the energy price cap. However, you can avoid this increase by shopping around or requesting your energy supplier to help you find a better deal.

Meet Free Price Compare: Cutting Costs for Households & Businesses

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