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Switching energy supplier if you owe money to your supplier

This advice applies to England

You might be able to switch supplier if you owe money to your current gas or electricity supplier. It depends when they sent you the bill you haven't paid.

You have the right to switch if your supplier either:

  • sent you the bill less than 28 days ago
  • haven't sent you a bill

If your supplier sent you a bill more than 28 days ago, you can't switch until you pay the bill.

If your energy supplier goes bust

Don’t switch tariff or supplier until your account is moved to the new supplier. You might find it harder to get any money you’re owed if you switch before this happens.

Read our advice about what to do if your energy supplier goes bust.

The rules are different if you haven't paid a bill because you think it's wrong. If you've complained to your supplier about the bill and they agree there might be a problem with it, they should let you switch.

If you think your bill is wrong and you haven't complained yet, you can challenge your supplier's decision not to let you switch. Check how to complain to your supplier.

If you have a prepayment meter

There are different rules for switching supplier if you pay in advance for your gas and electricity. 

You can switch supplier unless you owe more than £500 for gas or £500 for electricity. 

You’ll need to ask the new supplier to agree to transfer your debt along with your supply (this is called the ‘Debt Assignment Protocol’).

If your supplier doesn’t let you switch

They should tell you why they won’t let you switch. If they don’t explain or you don’t agree with what they said, you should make an official complaint to your supplier.

If you have a prepayment meter, you might want to write to your supplier and explain that you have the right to switch. You can use our template letter to switch supplier if you have a prepayment meter.

How to switch supplier

Find out how to switch supplier if you’re entitled to.

If you’re struggling with living costs

If you’re struggling with money, there are things you can do to save on your regular living costs. Check what to do if you need help with living costs.

If you’re finding it hard to pay your bills, you can get help. Find out more about getting help with your bills.

You can also get help with debts.

If you're struggling to pay for food, find out how to get help from a food bank.

Further help

If you’re having problems switching supplier, contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.

If you’re struggling to pay your energy bills or top up your prepayment meter you might be able to get extra help. Check if you can get grants and benefits to help pay your energy bills.

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