Switching energy supplier could save many people around £300 – and some could save more – off their bills, and it’s now quicker to do than ever before.
In October 2013 Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey challenged industry to cut switching times dramatically. New processes are now in place to get households switching in half the time, so people can benefit from increased competition and trimmer bills sooner this New Year.
Energy companies have cut the time it takes to switch between suppliers to 17 days, down from 5 weeks last year. Together with savings of around £300 for many – or more for a first-time switcher – and new competitive tariffs on the market at under £1000 a year, now’s the time to shop around for a good deal.
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey said:
"We’ve introduced more competition in the energy market and made it much quicker for people to switch energy supplier.
“Industry is delivering on my challenge so now my challenge is for more consumers to take advantage. There’s never been a better time to shop around, switch and save money faster than ever before.
“The job is not done for energy suppliers. They must offer 24 hour switching for consumers as quickly as possible.”
Throughout 2014, 3.1 million people shopped around and switched for a better deal on their gas bills, according to Energy UK statistics.
Industry body Energy UK is responding to Ed Davey’s challenge – 9 of Energy UK’s suppliers are now offering switching in 17 days. Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK, said:
"This is fantastic news and yet another example of energy companies making it easier for customers to engage with their supplier.
“There are now twenty six suppliers in the market and recently we saw data showing the price of the average tariff is falling. With quicker switching we urge customers to take full advantage of the great deals on offer."
But it doesn’t stop there. Smaller independent suppliers have confirmed that they are on track to introduce faster switching in 2015 as well. The new changes mean that suppliers don’t have to wait for the 14 day cooling off period before they begin the switching process. Instead the process begins on day one when a customer decides to switch, while statutory rights are protected so switchers can still cancel at any time within those 14 days.
Energy regulator Ofgem worked closely with suppliers to approve the new system. Ofgem Chief Executive Dermot Nolan said:
“Ofgem reforms have made it much easier to pick out cheaper deals. And now that switching times have been halved, there has never been a better time to shop around using the independent advice available at www.goenergyshopping.co.uk.
“We’ll continue to work with Government and industry to make next-day switching a reality and ensure that the full benefits of the smarter market are realised.”
This is one step closer towards Energy Secretary Ed Davey’s vision for 24 hour switching, which is supported by the roll-out of smart meters. The programme is set to bring a net benefit of £6.2 billion to the UK economy through energy savings and by cutting back on delivery costs, such as the need for home meter readings.
Please also see a Faster Switching Q&A document here.