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When can’t you switch energy suppliers?

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When can’t you switch energy suppliers?

Will I have to pay to switch energy suppliers?

Although it’s certainly true that switching suppliers after comparing different tariffs can save you money, there are a number of switching factors you should consider. For example, it’s worth remembering that if you have to pay a penalty exit fee to your existing supplier in order to make the switch, the saving you stand to make may not be worth it. This will all come down to what type of contract you currently have.

If you are on a standard variable tariff, then you are free to switch energy suppliers at any time without having to pay an exit or cancellation fee. However, if you are on a fixed-term contract, you are likely to incur an exit free if you wish to switch suppliers. Typically, when it comes to domestic energy, most suppliers offer customers fixed-term plans before moving them onto their standard variable tariff when the contract is set to expire. This move from a fixed to variable tariff usually sees your bills go up, but gives you the freedom to switch to a new supplier that may offer better rates.

Unlike domestic energy contracts, the fact that the vast majority of business energy contracts in the UK are fixed-term tariffs means that switching can be slightly more tricky. This is because rather than your current supplier moving your business onto a standard variable tariff at the end of your fixed-term contract, typically your existing contract will just renew automatically. This means if you do not keep an eye on the expiration date of your business’ energy contract, and/or fail to comply with the specific notice period procedure outlined, you could be locked into another fixed-term deal, often with increased rates. If this is the case and you are still looking to switch, a penalty exit fee will likely have to be paid to free you from your contract.

To switch business energy suppliers without having to pay a penny, you simply need to confirm the official end date of your current contract and ensure you send a termination letter before the agreed notice period outlined in your deal begins. Once your termination has been confirmed, you can then source a new energy supplier without having to pay for the switch.

Can I switch energy providers if I owe money?

While you don’t necessarily have to be in the black to be able to switch energy providers, your ability to switch depends chiefly on how much you actually owe your current supplier and how long you’ve owed the money for.

If you’ve owed your current domestic or business energy supplier money for more than 28 days (or are a month or more behind on your payments), you will not be able to switch providers until you have paid your current debt. This does not apply if it is your supplier who is at fault for your debt, however – for example, if they’ve provided incorrect estimates on your last bill. Nevertheless, an issue like this will have to be taken up with your supplier before you start the switching process.

If you have a prepayment meter and therefore pay in advance for your gas and electricity, you will not be able to switch energy suppliers if you owe more than £500 for gas or electricity. If you owe less than this amount, you can ask your new supplier to agree to transfer your debt along with your supply. This is called the ‘Debt Assignment Protocol’.


Can you switch to the same energy supplier?

Switching tariffs with your current supplier is possible and could save you money, however, as is the case when changing suppliers, there are still factors that should be considered first. If you are a domestic energy customer on a standard variable tariff, then you are free to switch tariffs whenever you want. In fact, it could actually be in your supplier’s interest, just as much as your own, to switch to a new fixed-term tariff with improved rates.

However, if you are a domestic or business energy customer currently on a fixed-term contract, it is likely you will have to pay an exit fee in order to switch tariffs (if you are not within your agreed notice period). This is because when you are locked into a fixed-term contract, your supplier buys your energy on the wholesale market ahead of time. If you switch tariffs, it has purchased your energy at a set rate that you will no longer use. Therefore, if this is the case, you will have to weigh up whether the overall saving you can make by switching to a better tariff will make up the outlay of an exit fee.

Can I switch energy supplier if I have solar panels?

Yes! It is a common misconception that if you have installed solar panels you are tied to your current energy supplier. This is simply not the case. Whether you’re a household or a business, if you find a better deal for your electricity and gas, switching can still be stress-free and quick.

While it’s true that in most domestic cases your current energy supplier also pays your Feed-in Tariff (the cash payment scheme formerly offered to households that produce their own electricity using renewable technologies), this subsidy is honoured by most energy suppliers and can therefore be transferred over should you decide to switch providers.

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