The benefit of switching energy suppliers is that it can lead to cheaper deals, but how often should you switch? We looked at whether switching more or less than once a year is a good idea.
How often should I switch energy suppliers?
When you switch suppliers you’ll usually be put on a fixed price tariff for a year. If you exit your tariff early, you could incur fees that make any savings you'd earn from switching redundant. That's why it's best to switch energy suppliers once a year.
However, you should look at switching before the fixed-rate tariff ends. Once your tariff ends, you’ll be put onto the standard rate tariff, which will cost you slightly more.
While changing suppliers too early can incur exit fees, if you switch within 49 days of your contract end-date, you’ll be able to avoid any fees.
Some suppliers offer two-year and three-year fixed rate tariffs to keep you with them for longer but it’s usually cheaper to change to a one-year tariff and then switch each year.
Why should I switch energy suppliers?
Competing energy suppliers like to reduce their tariffs or offer incentives to try and entice new customers. By switching to a new supplier for your utilities, you could take advantage of these tariffs to reduce your energy bills.
How do I change energy suppliers?
There are two ways to change suppliers. You can call different suppliers and ask for a quote over the phone, or you can use a switching site.
Switching sites are an easy and efficient way to have a look at the best deals. They'll make it easy for you to compare all suppliers at once, which means you'll be able to make the best decision based on your needs. You’ll be able to sort potential suppliers by:
- tariff type (fixed rate, variable rate, dual-fuel, and so on), customer service ratings
- features such as “green plans”.
Whichever way you do it, you’ll need to have a recent bill to hand so you know your average consumption levels and which tariff you’re currently on.
If you use a switching site, the new supplier will take care of everything for you. They'll notify your current supplier and arrange to carry out the switch on a certain day with no interruption. They’ll agree on the meter readings and make sure there is no overlap in billing periods.
Here are some Ofgem accredited switching sites:
How long does it take to switch?
From the moment you contract a new supplier, it shouldn’t take longer than three weeks for the switch to complete. Within a few weeks of switchover, your old supplier will send you a bill for any outstanding balance, or a refund if you’ve overspent.
If you decide to stay with your current supplier you have two weeks to change your mind. Just cancel the contract with the new supplier and nothing will change.
Can I switch energy suppliers if I have a smart meter?
Yes, you can still switch if you’ve got a smart meter, although it would be beneficial to know when your smart meter was installed.
If it was before 2018 then your meter is probably a 'first-generation' meter. Lots of these meters stopped sending automatic readings when suppliers are switched. Some smart meters installed after 2018 may be first-generation too, the only way to know for sure is to contact the supplier who installed it.
Remote upgrades have already been rolled out to many older smart meters to enable them to keep their smart functionality when you switch suppliers. This upgrade programme is currently due to be completed by June 2025.
Find out more ways to save on household bills.
Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.