Switch energy supplier
You’ll probably save money on your gas and electricity bills by switching to a new supplier.
If you've owed money to your supplier for more than 28 days, check how to switch if you're in debt.
If you rent your home and your landlord pays your supplier, check how to switch energy supplier if you’re a tenant.
Before you switch
There are some things you might need to check before you switch, depending on the type of meter or contract you have. For example, if you have a prepayment meter you’ll usually be limited to prepayment tariffs.
If your current contract has an exit fee
You might be charged if you leave a supplier before your fixed tariff contract ends. This is called an exit fee. Check your bill or online account to see if you have an exit fee.
If your contract ends in fewer than 42 days, you won't have to pay an exit fee. Check your contract or contact your supplier if you're not sure when your contract ends.
If your contract has an exit fee it’s worth considering:
- if you’re close to the end of your contract
- how much you’d save by switching
You might save more by switching, even if you have to pay an exit fee.
If you get the Warm Home Discount
Make sure you don’t lose your Warm Home Discount when you switch supplier. Check if the new supplier offers the Warm Home Discount before you switch.
If you’ve applied for the Warm Home Discount but haven’t got it yet, you'll have to apply again if you switch supplier. Ask your new supplier if they have different rules about who gets it.
If you have a smart meter
It’s a good idea to contact your new supplier to check if your smart meter will still work the same way. For example, some suppliers will ask you to send meter readings yourself.
If you have a pay as you go (PAYG) or 'prepay' smart meter, check it will work with the new supplier.
If the new supplier offers PAYG or ‘prepay’, you’ll usually need to top up with your new supplier once you’ve switched. Your old supplier will refund anything they owe you.
If you have a prepayment meter
You’ll usually have to choose a ‘prepayment tariff’ - this means you pay for your energy before you use it.
These tariffs are usually more expensive than direct debit tariffs and there aren't as many to choose from. A direct debit tariff means that you pay your energy bills every month or every four months.
If you don't owe money to your prepayment supplier, think about replacing your prepayment meter with a credit meter. This will allow you to choose from cheaper direct debit tariffs. Find out more about moving to a credit meter.
If you owe money to your supplier, you can switch after you've paid back the debt. You can get help paying your debt on your prepayment meter.
When you've finished paying the debt, your supplier must give you a credit meter if you ask for one.
If you have a two rate or ‘Economy 7’ electricity meter
You should contact the new supplier before you try to switch to a single rate tariff. This is because you can’t get some single rate tariffs with two rate meters.
Tell your supplier you have a two rate meter and ask them to check the price and tariff you’ve seen online.
Decide what tariff you want
Even if your options aren’t limited, it’s worth looking at different tariffs to find one that meets your needs. Think about what’s important to you, for example:
- a flexible tariff that you can get out of at any time
- an environmentally-friendly tariff
- the cheapest tariff available
Compare suppliers and switch
After you’ve checked what your options are, follow these steps to switch:
- Compare suppliers' prices and switch online. Alternatively, you can call the supplier to switch.
- Wait to hear from the new supplier - they’ll set up the switch and tell your old supplier.
- Take a meter reading on the day of the switch to give to your new supplier - this means they won’t charge you for energy used before the switch.
- Pay your old supplier’s final bill or get a refund if they owe you money.
If there’s a delay with switching suppliers
When you switch, the new supplier will ask for information like your name and postcode. After you've given them the information they need, they should switch you within 15 working days.
If it’s been more than 15 working days and you haven’t been switched, contact the supplier to check they have the information they need. If they do, they should automatically pay you £30.
They should pay you the £30 within 10 working days. They'll either send you a cheque or pay directly into your bank account.
You can complain to the supplier if they don't pay this.
If you need more advice about compensation, contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.