Switching your energy supplier can help save you a lot of money, but it I important to make sure that you are only switching when your contract allows it. If you switch at the wrong time, you could be liable to paying expensive early exit fees, so it is important to make sure that you know the state of the contract. In this guide we will look at how to find out if you are free to switch energy supplier, and whether switching is the best way to get cheap energy for you.
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Energy tariffs in the UK come in two main forms: fixed price and variable tariffs. Fixed price tariffs are almost always cheaper than variable tariffs, and involve signing a contract of usually 12, 18 or 24 months, and the price of your energy will not change during this term. In exchange, you guarantee that you will serve the length of this contract, otherwise you could be subject to an early exit fee.
After the end of the contract, you will likely be placed on a variable tariff, which you are free to leave without penalty, but will be more expensive, and the price per unit you pay can be subject to change. If you are on a variable tariff, it is recommended that you switch provider to a fixed price tariff.
The UK’s energy sector regulator, Ofgem, have ruled that if you choose to leave your contract in the last 49 days of its term, you are exempt from any early cancellation fees. This is to give you time to switch over your supplier without having any issues of a lack of power in your home. It is worth noting that changing your supplier can take up to three weeks, so it is best to make sure that you are quick to do the change, so that you don’t leave yourself without energy.
If you cannot remember when you first signed up to your existing deal, there are a number of simple ways that you can find out the amount of time that you have remaining on your contract:
If you would prefer to avoid the process of switching your supplier, but choose a different plan, you may be able to get out of your existing contract without any penalties if you contact them directly. Your provider would prefer to have you as a paying customer than not, and most would be happy to waive any early exit fees.
The amount you will have to pay in early exit fees will vary depending on the supplier. The best way to find out how much exactly that you will have to spend is to check the terms and conditions of your energy deal. Here is a rough guide over how much you will likely have to pay based on your supplier:
|Energy Provider||Early Exit Fee|
|SSE||£25 for electricity, £25 for gas|
|British Gas||£30 for electricity, £25 for gas|
|So Energy||£5 for electricity, £5 for gas|
|Eon||£30 for electricity, £30 for gas|
|Tonik||No early cancellation fee|
If you have a lot of time on your contract left, and you believe that you can get a much cheaper deal by switching supplier, it may be worth taking the hit on the early cancellation fee and terminating your contract early. Switching suppliers can save hundreds of pounds over the course of a year, so it is a good idea to compare energy deals online and see how much you could save in a year.
All you have to do is type in your postcode into our energy comparison tool, and a few key details, and you will be able to easily see the available energy deals where you live, and the prices of them.
If you could save £200 over the course of the year by switching, then a cancellation fee of £60 would be worth the original cost, with a saving of £140 overall.