If you are not happy with the services or the price that your current utility provider is offering you and you think it could be better, you have the option to switch providers.
Utility providers look after your gas and electric, so you will want to get the best rate as you are going to be using these necessities on a daily basis. Switching utility providers may be easier than you think and although many people believe it to be a lengthy and painful process, it is a very simple process.
To switch suppliers, in most cases you will only need your postcode, a recent bill and to be able to answer a few lifestyle questions around your gas and electricity usage and how energy efficient you are. This should only take about 10 minutes to do so it is no fuss. You can switch utility providers over the phone or online, although most people prefer to do this online via well-known comparison sites.
Also important to remember is that by changing suppliers, for example to a more environmentally friendly provider, you may be making yourself more carbon neutral, with less of the energy you are set to use coming from fossil fuels and unsustainable sources.
How to Switch Utility Providers Online
As expected, more and more people go online to change providers and the process is incredibly easy:
Step One: Check out an Energy Price Comparison Website – First, you can start by looking at websites which are accredited by the energy regulator Ofgem. If you do this, you should get a free, comprehensive and overall informative understanding of the utility market which is up to the standard of Ofgem.
Step Two: Enter Your Postcode – The prices for gas and electric are set regionally and therefore, you may find that certain suppliers only supply certain areas, towns and cities. This will therefore narrow down your options with regards to which plans and suppliers you can use. This step, then, is very important as it saves you time and effort of finding a provide you like only to find out they do not function in your area of the UK.
Step Three: Enter Your Usage Information – In order to get the most accurate results on a comparison site, you will need to input your household’s consumption details. To find those, you can look at your most recent energy bill, or you can simply estimate them by answering questions about your typical lifestyle.
Step Four: Review Your Comparison Results to Pick Your New Plan – Now it comes to actually picking your plan. This is the part many people find daunting. The list can be very long and it can be hard to know how to make the right decision for you.
If you do find yourself being overwhelmed by the results, there are handy ways to refine them so that they are more specific to you. These include:
- Opting to only see the plans that that site can switch you to
- Viewing only fixed rate energy plans – this is where your kWh rate will be locked for around a year or so, depending on the plan
- Viewing just the plans which are without an early exit fee/ cancellation fee
A number of comparison sites offer further helpful information such as which plan is most popular in your region and the specifics about the customer services of particular suppliers.
Step Five: Confirm Your Switch – Once you have spent some time deciding and have picked a plan that suits you, the last step is to actually confirm the switch by providing your full address and bank details. If you have chosen to go with a direct debit plan, this will usually be the cheapest and easiest option.
Then you are done. Your new provider will be alerted that you are a new customer of theirs. Then you can expect to be contacted by them after the two-week cooling off period with any follow up information about your service switch-over date.
What are Green Energy Suppliers?
Increasingly, more and more suppliers are using green, sustainable energy sources to generate the electricity and gas they supply to customers. This often comes from the likes of wind farms, hydroelectric power, solar and nuclear energy in the UK, as opposed to old fashioned fossil fuels. Most suppliers will make it very clear when they provide all or a portion of their energy from green sources.
With global carbon emissions rising over the past few decades, the UK has committed to cutting emissions and for many energy suppliers, going green is one of the ways of doing so.
What Happens Next?
Many people feel left in the dark when it comes to what happens after you confirm the switch.
It is common belief that your energy supply will be interrupted by the switch over to a new supplier. However, this is not the case. No matter who your supplier is, your gas and electrics will be the same and the only thing that changes is the how that energy is charged. In other words, even though you have switched suppliers, you will still be getting the same physical energy.
Remember that you will not be with your new provider from the moment you confirm the change online. The entire process will take around 17 days, comprising a two week ‘cooling off’ period and three extra days and you will receive energy as normal in the 17 days it takes to make the switch official.
Don’t worry about being billed twice, as the companies will agree on a switch over date, meaning that there will be no overlap when it comes to being billed. However, you must have cancelled your direct debit yourself as this is your responsibility. If you haven’t, this is when you may risk being billed twice.