How to switch energy supplier

Last updated: July 2024 | 3 min read

Switching energy suppliers can lead to many benefits, from cost savings to tailored tariffs that fit your energy usage patterns. Exploring different providers not only offers financial advantages but also opportunities for enhanced customer service and access to renewable energy options.

Ready to transform your energy expenses? This article will guide you about how to switch to a new gas or electricity supplier smoothly.  See how it can lower your gas bill and streamline your household budget. We'll guide you through the benefits and practical steps, making your switch easy and rewarding.

Why consider switching energy supplier?

Benefits of finding a new energy supplier

Switching energy suppliers can lead to quite a bit of cost savings. In the fluctuating landscape of energy prices, finding a new energy provider might offer more competitive rates.

It's not just about lower energy bills; you may also find tariffs better suited to your specific energy use patterns.

Besides cost, switching might unlock enhanced customer service experiences, access to renewable energy options, and tailored tariffs that align more closely with your lifestyle.

Exploring different energy suppliers gives insight into varied tariff structures. Some suppliers offer innovative energy plans, including time-of-use tariffs that can help save money if your usage is in off-peak periods. Also, consider the benefits of bundling services.

Some energy companies offer packages that combine electricity and gas, simplifying your bills and saving you additional money.

Energy prices and market trends

Energy prices in the UK are subject to market trends and regulatory changes. Try to understand these fluctuations so you can make an informed decision when switching energy suppliers.

Recent trends show a rise in energy prices, driven by various global and local factors. Keep abreast of these trends, so that you can time your switch to capitalise on lower rates or more favourable terms.

Be aware of the impact of government policies and regulatory changes on energy prices. For instance, changes in environmental levies or network charges can affect the overall cost of energy. Some energy providers might offer tariffs that are less susceptible to market volatility, providing more price stability.

You should know how much energy you consume. This helps to understand the impact of energy prices on your bills.

If you're a heavy consumer, even a slight reduction in per-unit cost can lead to substantial savings. If your usage is low, you might benefit more from tariffs with lower fixed costs, even if the unit rate is slightly higher.

What do you need to know before switching?

Assessing your current energy usage and bills

Start by examining recent energy bills. These documents provide a wealth of information about your current energy consumption. Look for the kilowatt-hours (kWh) used, to understand your energy needs.

You must also review the payment method - whether it's a direct debit or another form - as it may affect your new energy deal. Familiarise yourself with the total cost of each bill to gauge what you're currently paying.

Your existing energy tariff

Your current energy tariff dictates how much you pay for your gas and electricity. It's split into two main types: fixed tariffs, where prices remain constant for a set period, and variable tariffs, where prices fluctuate with the market.

Fixed tariffs vs variable tariffs

Fixed tariffs offer stability in energy pricing over a specific time, shielding you from market fluctuations. In contrast, variable tariffs change with energy prices, offering savings when prices drop but posing a higher cost risk when they rise. Your choice depends on your preference for predictability versus possible savings.

Identifying your energy needs and preferences

Energy needs vary from household to household. Reflect on your energy usage patterns, such as peak usage times or any plans to increase consumption (e.g., through an electric vehicle).

Also, consider your customer service preferences, whether you prioritise online support or direct phone assistance.

Renewable energy options

Consider whether a shift to renewable energy aligns with your values. Many energy providers now offer green energy options, contributing to a more sustainable future.

Customer service and support considerations

Customer service quality can significantly impact your experience with an energy provider. Investigate providers' customer support records, focusing on availability, responsiveness, and helpfulness.

How to compare energy suppliers effectively

Using price comparison websites

Price comparison websites are invaluable tools you can use to compare electricity and gas suppliers. Start by entering your postcode and energy usage details. The website will then present a range of options, helping you find the best deal based on your consumption patterns and preferences.

Reading and understanding energy tariffs

Energy tariffs can be complex. Key components to understand include the unit rate (price per kWh) and the standing charge (daily fixed cost). Compare these rates among different suppliers to determine the most cost-effective option.

Evaluating energy deals beyond the price

While price is a significant factor, also consider other aspects like customer service, contract length, and any additional benefits like loyalty rewards or green energy initiatives.

Considering the environmental impact

If environmental sustainability is a priority, look for the green credentials of suppliers. Many offer tariffs that support renewable energy sources.

Exploring additional services and benefits

Some suppliers provide perks like smart meter installation or energy efficiency advice. Weigh these benefits alongside the cost and service quality when making your decision.

How to switch the energy supplier

Initiating the switch

Gathering the right information is your first step to switching energy providers. Locate your recent energy bill; it contains details like your current energy supplier, the tariff you're on, and your energy usage.

Ensure you have your full address, including the postcode, as energy prices vary by region. If you're moving homes, have the new address handy. Your bank details are also required for setting up payments with the new supplier.

Choosing the right time to switch

Timing your switch can lead to better energy deals. Generally, it's wise to consider switching when your current contract is nearing its end, as exit fees for early leaving can be costly.

Be aware of the end date of your current tariff and start looking for new options a few months before. This approach also helps to avoid being rolled over onto your supplier's standard variable tariff, which is often more expensive.

Completing the switch online

Online switching offers convenience and speed. Most energy suppliers have user-friendly websites where you can compare tariffs and complete the switch. Enter your personal and energy usage details to see available options.

Once you've chosen a new tariff, the website will guide you through the application process. It's straightforward and only takes a few minutes. Remember to set up an online account with your new supplier for easy management of your energy services.

How to switch if you have a smart meter

If you have a smart meter, switching is still simple. Check whether your meter is compatible with your new supplier. Most smart meters work with different suppliers, but in some cases, they might revert to being standard meters. Inform the new supplier about your smart meter during the switch. They'll guide you if any additional steps are required.

Switching energy providers for electric vehicles

Electric vehicle (EV) owners should look for tariffs catering to their specific needs. Some suppliers offer specialised EV tariffs with cheaper rates for charging during off-peak hours.

When switching, inform the new supplier about your EV and inquire about relevant tariffs. These can significantly reduce your charging costs and offer additional benefits like renewable energy sources. Read more detail about how to choose and switch energy suppliers.

After the switch

What happens after you switch energy suppliers?

When you switch energy providers, the process is seamless and doesn't interrupt your electricity or gas supply. Your new supplier will coordinate with your old supplier to ensure a smooth transition. The only change you'll notice is a different name on your energy bill.

Dealing with final bills and owed money

After switching, your previous supplier will send a final bill. This bill covers your energy usage up to the switch date. If you're in credit, your old supplier will refund the balance. If you owe money, you'll need to settle this amount. Ensure you provide meter readings to both suppliers to guarantee accurate billing.

Switching timelines

Switching energy suppliers usually takes about 21 days. This period includes a two-week cooling off period, giving you the freedom to cancel the switch without any fees. The actual changeover, where your supply shifts to the new supplier, is swift and happens at the end of this period.

Cooling off period: your rights after switching

The cooling off period is a 14-day window after initiating a switch where you can cancel without penalty. This right ensures you make decisions without pressure. If you change your mind during this period, simply contact your new supplier to halt the process.


Will switching affect my energy supply?

An energy switch in the UK is a straightforward process, designed to ensure no interruption in your energy supply. The physical supply of electricity and gas to your home remains unchanged. This means there's no risk of losing power during the switch.

What do I need to know about exit fees and penalties?

Exit fees can apply if you leave a fixed tariff before its end date. Not all tariffs have these fees, and they vary by supplier. Check your current energy plan's terms for any exit fees. Sometimes, the savings from a new tariff outweigh these fees. If your fixed tariff has less than 49 days left, suppliers can’t charge exit fees.

I am a renter. Can I switch energy supplier?

As a renter, you have the right to switch energy suppliers if you're responsible for paying the energy bills directly. However, if your landlord pays the bills and includes the cost in your rent, they have the control over choosing the supplier. It's always a good practice to inform your landlord of your intention to switch, maintaining a good relationship.

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