1. Home
  2. Energy deals
  3. Guides
  4. How to switch energy

How to switch energy supplier

Switching energy supplier is a simple, hassle-free process. Whatever your reasons for switching, from moving home to finding a better deal, discover what to expect and how to switch.

Woman switching energy supplier on laptop 

The obvious reason to switch energy supplier is to save money. Even if you can’t find a more competitive tariff, there are other ways you can cut costs when switching. They include:

  • Choosing a supplier with paperless billing and online support
  • Paying monthly by Direct Debit
  • Switching to a dual fuel tariff – so your gas and electricity come from the same supplier

Saving money isn’t the only reason why you might want to change supplier. Other reasons include:

  • Price certainty: Fixed-rate tariffs are back on the market. These tariffs ensure you pay the same rate for each unit of gas and electricity you use for the length of the contract.
  • Environmental reasons: You may want to switch to a tariff or supplier that offers 100% green energy. Find out more with our guide to comparing green energy tariffs.
  • Customer service: If you’re unhappy with your current supplier, you can switch to a supplier with better customer service ratings.

To change gas and electricity supplier, follow these steps:

  • Get information about your current tariff: You need to know who your supplier is and what tariff you’re currently on. You can find all of this on a recent bill.
  • Perform an energy comparison: Visit our comparison page and select ‘Get started’ to enter your details.
  • Compare quotes: After confirming your details, you’re shown a range of tariffs from different suppliers – both fixed-rate and variable. Click on ‘Plan info’ next to a tariff to view more information about it.
  • Choose tariff and switch: If you find a better tariff, click ‘Switch today’ and follow the instructions.

Price is obviously a key factor, but don’t choose the cheapest tariff without also considering:

  • Tariff type: Fixed-rate deals are coming back on the market. They offer peace of mind by locking in the price of your energy for the length of the contract (typically 12 months).
  • Price cap changes: While the price cap offers some certainty over prices, it now changes every 3 months. Before you switch, find out how the price cap works including predicted changes over the coming months.
  • Exit fees: If you’re currently on a fixed-rate contract, you need to pay this fee unless you’ve entered the final 49 days of your tariff. Factor in the cost when choosing a new tariff.
  • Account administration: Do you prefer to receive bills by post, or are you happy to receive them online, such as via email or app?
  • Contact details: Are you happy to contact your supplier using email or an online portal, or do you want additional options such as a phone support line?
  • How you pay your bill: Check the supplier supports your chosen method of payment. This might be Direct Debit, card or cheque if you’re on a standard credit meter. If you have a prepayment meter, you probably pay with a top-up card or key.
  • Supplier reputation: Take the time to check online reviews for any supplier before you switch.

This varies depending on your personal circumstances. Factors include where you live, whether you have both gas and electricity, what tariff you’re on and how you pay your bill. The only way to find out is to submit your details to each supplier to see what deals they offer. You can save time by using our comparison service to check against a range of suppliers and tariffs with 1 click.

There are specific times when it’s a good idea to consider switching. They include:

  • When moving home: While you might be able to take your current deal (and supplier) with you, now is the time to see if you can find a better deal.
  • When your current fixed-rate tariff is about to end: Don’t wait for the tariff to end, because you could end up on your supplier’s standard variable tariff. If you switch with 21-49 days left on your current tariff, you should avoid spending a few days or weeks on your current supplier’s default tariff. You also avoid any exit fees or penalties.
  • During the summer months: This is usually when energy prices are cheaper because people use less energy. It may lead you to a cheaper fixed-rate deal that ensures you pay less for your energy during the colder winter months.
  • Before prices rise: Keep an eye on the news – you may hear rumours of energy price rises. If you’re not already on a fixed-rate tariff, now might be a good time to fix your costs.
  • After a change in circumstances: Does your current energy tariff meet your needs? If you’re no longer at home during the day – or you've installed solar panels – then switching to an Economy 7 tariff may help reduce costs.
  • After you clear your energy debt: As soon as you’ve paid off what you owe to your current supplier, look for a cheaper deal.

When picking a new tariff, first you should choose between fixed and variable rate:

  • Fixed-rate tariff: The cost of each unit of energy is fixed for the length of the tariff, typically 12 months.
  • Variable rate: Energy unit costs go up and down in line with wholesale costs, subject to the price cap

Second, what type of energy meter do you have?

  • Standard credit meter: You pay for your energy monthly or on receipt of a bill.
  • Prepayment meter: You pay for your energy as you use it. This means paying in advance using a top-up key or card.

Next, what type of energy tariff are you looking for?

  • Electricity-only: Covers the cost of your electricity.
  • Gas-only: Covers the cost of your gas.
  • Dual fuel: 1 tariff covers all your energy costs.

Finally, you can also consider specialist tariffs, such as environmentally friendly green energy tariffs or time-of-use tariffs. The latter type charges different rates for your electricity at different times of day.

After you’ve signed up, supplied meter readings and confirmed your payment details, your new supplier contacts you with a proposed switching date.

It shouldn't take more than 5 working days to switch, but you can ask to delay this. For example, you may want to wait until the 14-day cooling-off period elapses before the switch completes in case you change your mind.

Your old energy supplier then sends a final bill. If you’re still in credit, make sure it provides you with a refund.

  • Don’t be governed solely by price: Make sure you consider other factors too, like a supplier’s customer service reputation. 
  • Remember you’re protected: Don’t shy away from deals with smaller energy suppliers. If they go bust, Ofgem ensures your supply is uninterrupted, and transfers you automatically to another supplier.
  • It’s a great time to go green: Consider switching to 100% green energy tariffs. Renewable energy is competitively priced, so you may not have to pay much more to help the planet.
  • Remember the exit fee: The price of switching when still in a fixed-rate contract could end up costing you more than the savings you might make. Add on the exit fee to any quote you’re given, then divide it by 12 to see how much your new tariff will cost you.
  • Switch your business’s energy: You can also switch suppliers for your business gas and electricity. It works slightly differently – see our guides to find out more.

Will my energy supply be interrupted when I switch suppliers?

No, both your gas and electricity supply should be unaffected when you switch from one supplier to another. 

Can I switch energy suppliers if I rent?

If you’re directly responsible for paying your energy bill then you should be able to switch. On the other hand, if the cost of your energy is included in your rent, or you pay your landlord separately for energy, then you will need to ask them if they will switch for you. 

Either way, you should speak to your landlord or letting agency. That’s because they may have a preferred supplier – you’ll need to switch back to this supplier when you move out.

How do I switch energy suppliers if I'm moving home?

If you wish to take your current tariff with you, then simply speak to your current supplier. Inform them of where you’re moving to, and the date of the move. If the tariff can be transferred, they should be able to take care of the switch for you.

If you want to switch to a new tariff and supplier, then wait until you’ve moved in. Submit a meter reading from your new home to its current supplier, then use our energy comparison tool to find a better deal.

For more help when moving home, see our moving checklist.

What should I do when my energy supplier goes bust?

Don’t worry. Your energy supply will remain uninterrupted and Ofgem will quickly transfer you to its preferred supplier. Ofgem recommends you wait until the new supplier gets in touch, then you can immediately look to switch.

How many times can I switch my energy supplier?

Technically there are no limits to how many times you can switch. However, if you move on to a fixed-rate tariff, it’s likely to come with an exit fee. You’ll need to calculate whether the savings from your new tariff outweigh the exit fee you’ll be charged.

Note: you cannot be charged an exit fee if you switch tariff during the 14-day cooling-off period at the start of the contract. This allows you to change your mind, cancel the switch and then look for another deal. The fees are also waived when you enter the final 49 days of your tariff’s contract. 

Will I be billed twice when I switch energy?

You should not be billed twice for the same units of energy when you change energy supplier. Based on the meter readings you supply when switching, your new supplier should notify your old supplier which meter reading they intend to start charging from. Assuming this is agreed, the old supplier will then use that reading when closing your account and sending you their final bill.

Check the reading on this final bill against the opening meter reading on your first bill from your new supplier. They should match.

What if I change my mind about my energy switch?

If you change your mind about switching energy suppliers during the 14-day cooling-off period, contact the new supplier as soon as possible. If you’ve not yet moved, they will cancel the switch and you’ll remain with your old supplier.

If the switch has occurred, but you’re still in the cooling-off period, they should explain what options you have. These include agreeing a new contract with your new supplier, switching back to an ‘equivalent’ contract with your old supplier, or finding a new supplier.

If you’ve switched, you’ll have to pay the new supplier for any energy you’ve used during this period, but you won’t be disconnected.

When can I switch energy suppliers without penalty or exit fee?

If you’re on a standard variable tariff, you can switch at any time without incurring any fees. If you’re on a fixed contract, check to see what fees you may be liable for. If there are penalty fees attached to the tariff, you can switch without incurring any fees when there are 49 days or left on the contract.

Can I switch if I owe money to my current supplier?

Yes, so long as you’ve only been in debt to your current supplier for less than 28 days. Any amount you owe will be added to the final bill sent by your old supplier. This should arrive within 6 weeks. 
If you’ve been in debt for over 28 days, you’ll need to repay it before you can switch. If you believe the bill is wrong, complain to your supplier. If they agree it could be wrong, they should allow you to switch. 

If you’re on a prepayment meter, you won’t be able to switch if you owe more than £500 in gas or electricity. If you owe less than £500, you’ll need to transfer the debt to your new supplier.

Can I switch to the same energy supplier?

Yes. The process should be quicker than switching to another supplier but be prepared to provide meter readings if asked.

What happens to my credit when I switch energy supplier?

Any credit owed to you by your former energy supplier should be paid automatically. However, in practice, many have failed to do so over the years. Check your final bill and if necessary contact your old supplier to claim your refund.

Will I get a smart meter if I switch suppliers?

If you don’t already have a smart meter, speak to your new supplier before switching to see if it will offer you one. If you already have a smart meter, then it shouldn’t need upgrading. However, if it’s a first-generation (SMETS1) smart meter, it may lose its smart functionality after switching. This means you’ll have to revert to manual meter readings until it receives a software upgrade.

Can I switch suppliers if I have solar panels?

Yes, you can switch energy suppliers like anyone else. If your current supplier pays you for your excess electricity (either the Feed-In-Tariff or Smart Export Guarantee), they will continue to do so even after you’ve switched.

How can I switch to a renewable energy supplier?

First, find a green energy tariff. Then visit the supplier’s page to see where it sources its renewable energy from.

Share this article