The energy market is complex, and that can make it difficult to switch suppliers.
There are many reasons why you might not be able to, or cant switch your energy provider, and some of them may surprise you.
Switching energy suppliers is simple and should take no more than two weeks.
The process can be done online, with all information sent to the new supplier via email. The information you will need to give your new supplier includes your meter number and postcode to pa electric suppliers for switching.
If you are paying by direct debit or standing order, you may also need to provide bank account details for paying your bills if it’s not already stored on the system.
Energy companies make it difficult to leave, making you feel like you cannot switch.
They can do this by stating any number of reasons, most of which we have addressed, and given you some insight in how to overcome the ‘excuses’.
1 You can’t switch because your contract hasn’t ended
- The most common reason why you can’t switch energy providers is that your contract has not yet ended.
- Contracts typically last 12 months after which period you can switch companies.
- If you terminate your contract early, penalties may accrue. If this applies to you and you want a lower rate, it’s best to stick with your current provider until your current agreement is over and then switch again at that time.
2 Your electricity meter is in your landlord’s name
- If your electricity meter is in your landlord’s name, you won’t be able to switch providers.
- This is because the meter can only be registered on one account at a time—and that means if you’re paying for your own electricity and want to switch, you’ll need to ask your landlord if they will let you register under their account.
- They may not agree to this if they charge you for using their energy supply, which can put added pressure on tenants’ finances.
- If the property has its own separate meter (known as a sub-meter), it might be possible for tenants and landlords to register with different suppliers and split the costs between each other so that both parties pay their fair share of bills.
3 You are trying to switch to a supplier that doesn’t cover your area
- If you are in the wrong area, you need to contact your current supplier and ask them to switch you to a new one.
- If you are in a new area, then contact your current supplier and ask them to change it on their system.
4 The energy company says you need an engineer visit before you can switch
If you’re told that you’ll need an engineer visit before you can switch, it’s because of one of the following reasons:
- Checking the meter.
The energy company will send an engineer round to your home.
He will check that you are not in debt, that any overcharging has been corrected and that there are no problems with your meter or wiring which could cause inaccurate readings leading to more expensive energy bills.
- Reconciling your account.
After making sure everything is up to date and working correctly, they’ll reconcile the meter reading with historical data on other similar properties.
This is done to compare how much energy they’ve used historically against what it says on their bill from now on.
5 The energy company has already issued a final bill
- If you have already received a final bill from your existing energy provider, you cannot switch to another provider.
- If you do not pay the final bill, your existing supplier may try to take money from your bank account.
- If this happens, make sure that the payment goes into a separate account so that it doesn’t affect any other payments coming out of the same account, such as rent or mortgage payments.
6 You may have a prepayment meter
- To find out if you have a prepayment meter, check your electricity bill or contact your energy supplier directly to enquire about your account details.
- If you have a prepayment meter and wish to switch suppliers, make sure you ask them about their switching process so there’s no confusion when it comes down to actually changing over from one provider to another.
If you’ve been with an energy supplier for a long time, you may be in debt to them. This can happen if:
- You were given a credit balance at the end of your direct debit period.
Your supplier will try to contact you over the phone or by post to let you know that they have money owed to them by your account.
- You’ve had bills defaulted (e.g., unpaid meter readings), which is when an energy supply company has failed to take payment from your bank account on time, so it has had to use its own resources (called “curtailment”) instead – usually at higher prices than usual!
It’s important to research before switching energy providers. You want to avoid getting stuck with a bad deal or having any surprises when you’re shopping around for a new provider. The best way to avoid this is by comparing all of the options available in your area before making a decision.
Kenneth is a proud native of sydney, born and raised there. However, he pursued his education abroad and studied in Australia. Kenneth has worked as a journalist for almost a decade, making valuable contributions to prominent publications such as Yahoo News and The Verge. Currently, he serves as a journalist for The Hear Up, where he focuses on covering climate and science news. You can reach Kenneth at [email protected].