How to switch gas and electricity supplier

Money Advice Service

Sticking with the same companies isn’t a marriage made in heaven when only new customers get the special offers! So switch and ditch!

Big tip

If you’re someone with a pre-pay meter, you can still switch!

Since April 2016, none of the big six energy companies charge to change prepayment meters over to credit meters which tend to be cheaper. They will likely run a credit check on you though and your energy account will need to be debt free.

If you want or have to stick with a pre-payment meter, you can still check to see if there is a cheaper deal out there and switch.

What should you do with your extra money? Now that you’ve saved a few quid, we’ve a few ideas that will get you saving. Try them out here.

How long it’ll take: 20 mins

What you’ll save: Potentially hundreds of pounds

Equipment needed:

    • Recent gas and electricity bills
    • Internet access – to check the best deals
    • Your bank details – for the new supplier, if you decide to switch

1. Ask about better deals

You know, you don’t actually have to switch. You could always call up your current supplier to see if you can pay less. Really.

Can you change to direct debits? Opt for bills over the internet? Move to a cheaper tariff?

Simple steps could lead to serious savings. But beware – ask about any exit penalties, if you decide to make a sneaky switch to another supplier afterwards. Then see if you can get a better deal somewhere else!

2. Know what you have

Knowledge is power. Dig out your gas and electricity bills, whether they’re at the bottom of a pile of papers, or buried in your email inbox. Then check: who supplies your gas and electricity? What’s the name of your tariff? And (hopefully) how much energy you use each year?

If you get a Warm Home Discount, make sure the supplier you’re switching to offers the discount. Find out more in our Help with heating costs section.

3. Get on the comparison sites

Make life easy. Use a price comparison website to find the best energy deal to suit your circumstances. Check out Ofgem accredited price comparison sites to find the deal for you (scroll down until you see the brown box and click ‘show the list’).

You will need to choose between fixed and variable tariffs. A fixed tariff gives you the peace of mind – the price you pay for each unit of energy, and any standing charges, won’t change. You get protection if prices go up – but you don’t benefit if prices go down. You may also face an exit fee if you want to switch suppliers before the end of your deal.

Comparison websites will want to know how much energy you use, whether in pounds spent or kilowatts (kwh) used. But don’t worry if you don’t know, as they can make a rough guess based on the size of your house, how many people live there, and the appliances you use.

Get reading – It’s so worth reading your gas and electricity meter, and checking them against your latest bills. Make sure you bills are right by submitting new readings to your supplier – it should only take a few minutes, online or by phone.

Use less energy – As well as switching energy supplier to get lower bills, check out our guide on ‘How to use less energy’ to cut costs even more.

Make the most of the whole market – On the comparison websites, tick the option to compare the whole market, not just the suppliers that pay a fee to the website.

Rent your home? You can still switch. If your name is on the bill, you can switch gas and electricity bills even.

Officially, you don’t need to ask permission from your landlord, but it’s a good idea to let them know anyway. Check your tenancy agreement, and talk to your landlord if there’s anything that says you can’t switch.

It’s not necessarily all about the price – Before switching, check out any info available on customer service. Some comparison sites include customer service ratings in their comparison tables. Which? and Citizen’s Advice does a customer satisfaction survey about what customers really think, which is worth checking before you decide who you go with.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

Some important information about Rest Less Money

We want you to understand the positives, but also the limitations of using our site. We operate in a journalistic manner and therefore all information, guidance or suggestions provided are intended to be general in nature, and you should not rely on any of the information on the site in connection with the making of any financial decision.

When we set out to build Rest Less Money, we wanted to be a trusted place where you could find helpful information about financial matters affecting the over 50s. As a free to use resource, we try hard to provide the best information we can, but we cannot guarantee that we won’t occasionally make mistakes. So please note that you use the information on our site at your own risk, and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.

Key things to remember when using Rest Less Money:

We do not offer financial advice – As a journalistic site, it’s important to know that we do not provide financial advice. You should always do your own research before choosing any financial product so that you can be certain it is right for you and your specific circumstances. If you are in any doubt, please seek professional financial advice from a regulated financial advisor.

No Liability – please note that you use the information on Rest Less Money at your own risk and we can’t accept liability for how you choose to use the information given on our site. We will often provide links to content or products and services available on other third-party websites. These are provided purely for your convenience and we cannot be held responsible for any content, or any of the products and services offered on any website that we link to.

 

Accuracy of Information – We try to make sure that all the information provided on Rest Less Money is correct at the time of publishing as we want it to be the most helpful resource possible. Sadly, we are not perfect however, and so we can make no guarantees as to the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or suitability of the information available on the site.
Whilst we work hard to try and provide accurate information, deals and prices can change, so whilst they may be correct at the time of writing, providers may subsequently decide to alter them later – so always double check first.

A final note on the Rest Less Community Forums – always remember that anyone can post their opinion on the Rest Less Community Forums, so it can be very different from our own opinion and may not be factual or well researched. Always be wary of any content posted on the forums and be sure to do your own research and due diligence on anything suggested. 

We hope you find Rest Less Money a useful resource and we would welcome your feedback at [email protected] on how to make it even better. For more information on any of the above you can read our full terms and conditions.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Get the latest ideas, advice and inspiration​

No spam. Just useful and interesting stuff, straight to your inbox. Covering finance, learning, jobs, volunteering, lifestyle and more.

By providing us your email address you agree to receive emails and communications from us and acknowledge that your personal data will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions. You can unsubscribe at any time by following the link in our emails.

Join Rest Less for free

Rest Less is the UK’s fastest growing site for the over 50s, focusing on finance, learning, careers, volunteering, lifestyle and more. 

Good luck with your application

Before you go, we’d love to stay in touch to find out how you get on. Sign up to Rest Less today to get the latest volunteering, careers, learning, financial planning and lifestyle resources sent straight to your inbox.

By providing your email you agree to receive emails and communications from us and acknowledge that your personal data will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions. You can unsubscribe at any time through the link in our emails.

Good luck with your application

Before you go, we’d love to stay in touch to find out how you get on. Sign up to Rest Less today to get the latest jobs, learning, volunteering, financial planning and lifestyle resources sent straight to your inbox.

By providing your email you agree to receive emails and communications from us and acknowledge that your personal data will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions. You can unsubscribe at any time through the link in our emails.