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Switching utilities

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An Ofgem survey found that 53% of people said they have been confused by energy tariffs. With a proliferation of switching services available, there’s no need to stick with an expensive standard variable rate tariff.

Most suppliers offer up to four tariffs for gas and four for electricity, along with discounts for managing your account online or choosing a 'dual fuel' deal.

Once a year, your energy supplier should tell you which tariff is cheapest for you. If your circumstances change in the meantime, call your supplier to discuss your options.

calculator and energy bills

Switching energy suppliers

If you're looking to switch supplier, you can use one of the many energy comparison websites. We recommend using Citizen Advice Bureau's Comparison Tool to find the best energy deal. If you don't have internet access you can phone the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 040506 and they will send you a factsheet with the deals available in your area.

To make sure you get the best deal, you’ll need to know:

  • The name of your current supplier.
  • The name of your current tariff, usually found on your bill.
  • The amount of energy you use.
  • How you currently pay, and would like to pay with a new supplier.
  • Your postcode.

Switching fees

Some fixed tariffs do have an exit fee – however, many are free to leave at any time. If you’re on a standard variable tariff, there are no exit fees in any event.

Type of tariffs

 

 

Change the way you pay your bills

The way you pay your bill can also make a difference. For example, most suppliers offer a discount for paying your bill by direct debit. On average it is £100 cheaper per year to pay by monthly direct debit than paying by cash or cheque. You may also get discounts for receiving bills online, as this cuts down on paper and reduces costs for the supplier, and is good for the environment.

Contact your supplier directly to find out if there is a better way for you to pay, and that might save you money. Making sure you are receiving all help you are entitled to will make paying for fuel bills and other household expenses easier.

couple looking at their energy bills

Price cap protection

In January 2019, Ofgem introduced a price cap to regulate the maximum amount energy suppliers could charge for supplying gas and electricity. While the price cap provides some protection against excessive charges, it only stops high charges rather than offering low ones.

Initially the cap was set at £1,137 per year for a typical dual fuel customer paying by direct debit. However, the price cap is reviewed twice a year – in April and October and the cap increased to £1,254 due to rising energy costs, with corresponding price increases expected across the industry. Have a look at the current price cap levels.

radiator shaped like a home

More information and advice

Citizens Advice Bureau

If you are struggling to pay your energy bills, or simply want to make sure that you are getting all the financial help you are entitled to, your local Citizens Advice Bureau can help you to check that you are not missing out on any benefits or tax credits that could boost your income.

My Home Energy Switch

My Home Energy Switch is a free energy supply service from the National Housing Federation which can help tenants to reduce their energy bills. Simply call 0800 0014 706 or visit their website with your postcode and a current energy bill to hand.

Winter Fuel Payment

You may be eligible for between £100 and £300 tax-free to help pay your heating bills if you were born on or before 5 May 1953. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’. Call the winter fuel helpline number on 03459 15 15 15 to find out more.

Cold weather payment

Some people who receive benefits can also get a Cold Weather Payment of £25 if the temperature drops below freezing in their local area for seven days in a row. You don't need to apply – if you are eligible it will be paid automatically in the same way that people receive their benefits.

Debt management

If you are in debt with your energy supplier, they are obliged to help you set regular repayment amounts to cover your energy usage and debt at a level which you can afford. You should call them immediately to arrange a payment plan. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau will be able to help you manage your debt. You can find details of your local bureau on their website or call their Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040 506.

If you live in Northern Ireland, call the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland on 0800 121 6022.

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