Switching energy supplier should be simple, and it usually is – a record 5.5 million switches last year demonstrates that – but there’s no guarantee there won’t be any bumps in the road when leaving one energy supplier for another.
Exit fees aside, a new study from Which?, an arm of the Consumers Association, has found that not only are some suppliers more difficult to leave than others, but the choice of suppliers you switch between can also have an impact on the ease of transition.
No energy supplier wants to lose your business, but it seems Sainsbury’s Energy and SSE are more prepared to take the bad news on the chin than most, with 92% of customers who left them reporting that the process was easy or very easy.
This comes as a bit of a surprise when you consider that both these companies score pretty dismally when it comes to customer service, coming joint 24th out of 31 suppliers, with customer satisfaction scores of just 54%.
The study also found that changing from British Gas to First Utility was the easiest switch to make – another surprising result as, again, neither company stands out when it comes to customer satisfaction, with British Gas having a particularly poor score of 52% and a ranking of 26 out of 31.
Co-operative Energy, First Utility, GB Energy and Ovo Energy were found to be among the most difficult companies to leave, with the most common customer complaints being that switches were slow (23%), or refund procedures were difficult (15%).
It won’t come as any surprise to find that none of these companies currently feature among the UK’s best energy suppliers.
Other common switching complaints include difficulties paying the previous supplier (15%), poor communication from the new supplier (15%), poor customer service from the new supplier (8%), problems with online billing (5%), and problems paying the new supplier (4%).
The study took feedback from over 8,000 energy customers from across Great Britain, and found that the choice of supplier you’re switching from and to can also affect the smoothness of the switch.
The most troublesome transfer is from EDF Energy to Npower, closely followed by British Gas to Eon, which suggests that these suppliers don’t take too kindly to customers leaving one for another of the Big Six.
The good news is that no customers reported that disruption to their supply was a problem when switching - remember, when you switch supplier, the gas and electricity enters your property through the existing pipes and cables, it’s just the supplier that changes, so there should be no disruption to your supply.
Despite some switches not going quite to plan, the vast majority of consumers see their switch go without a hitch. Ofgem regulations state that your switch should take no longer than 17 days, including a 14-day cooling-off period - if it takes any longer you have grounds for complaint.
Switching supplier remains the simplest way to significantly cut your annual energy bills, and making the switch with UKPower could see you save a whopping £491* a year.
Just follow these few simple steps to switch:
You can switch without paying any exit fees up to 49 days before your current deal is due to end, and don’t worry if you don’t have a bill to hand, we can estimate your usage based on the size of your property.
If you’re concerned that the switch might take too long, switch to a company signed up to the Energy Switch Guarantee, as these suppliers promise to complete your move within 21 days.
Click here to run an energy price comparison, and see if you could be paying less for your gas and electricity.