Changing energy retailers is one way you can save money on your gas or electricity bill. You may also get a better offer by talking to your current energy retailer.
When you purchase gas and electricity from an energy retailer, you are entering a contract. You must give your consent to enter into a contract and you can usually do this in writing, electronically (for example by email) or verbally (on the phone). Before you do this, you should read the terms and conditions of the contract carefully, ask for clarification if you don't understand something and consider if the contract is right for you.
Once you have entered a contract, your new energy retailer must give you a copy of the contract. The contract includes all the terms and conditions of the offer and the cost. Once you agree to a new contract, a ten working day cooling off period begins. During the cooling off period you can decide whether you want to go ahead with the contract. Carefully consider the terms and conditions outlined in the contract to make sure you are happy with everything. If you are happy with the contract, you don't have to do anything else.
If you choose not to go ahead with the contract, you need to contact the retailer and advise them of your decision. Remember that fees may be imposed if you end the contract after the cooling off period.
To compare offers, it helps to have an idea of the following:
- Your energy usage – look at your last few bills to get an idea of how much energy you typically use, remember this may change at different times of the year.
- The name of your current offer or tariff – check with your current retailer if you don’t know.
- How do you currently pay for energy?
Before you sign, or agree to switch, ask the salesperson:
- How long do I need to sign up for?
- What are my rights to cancel this contract?
- How do I cancel the contract?
- Will I have to pay a termination fee if I want to leave early?
The following are key points to remember when you switch retailers:
- Your existing retailer will continue to provide your energy and bill you for it until your service transfers to your new retailer. Your new retailer is responsible for managing your switch. This typically happens on the date when your meter is next read, so it can take a number of weeks.
- You have ten business days (from the date on which you signed the contract with your new retailer) to change your mind and cancel the contract at no charge.
- Make sure you arrange to pay your final bill, and any outstanding amounts you owe, to your old retailer. If you are on a fixed term contract you may be charged a fee if you switch before the contract has expired.
- Speak to your landlord or housing association if you live in rented accommodation, as tenancy arrangements might affect whether you can switch retailers.