When is the best time to switch energy supplier?
Energy prices are always changing, and suppliers regularly change their tariffs and add new plans to the market to reflect these changes - which can make it tricky to work out the best time to switch energy suppliers and save money on your gas and electricity bills.
At UKPower, we want to take the hassle out of comparing energy prices to help you switch energy provider as quickly and painlessly as possible - we can compaare deals in minutes and have you switched within 17 days.
But does the time of year matter when it comes to energy swithcing? And are there any other things you should consider to get the timing right to make sure you get the very best deal?
It's worth comparing prices every six-to-nine months, to make you are on the cheapest deal for what you want - all you need to do is enter your postcode in the box above to get started.
Even if you’re only halfway through your current deal, the money you save might amount to more than any early exit fees you have to pay, so always do your sums when comparing prices.
When should you switch energy supplier?
You might also want to consider switching if any of the following apply to your situation.
When you haven’t switched for a while
When was the last time you changed your gas and electricity tariff or provider? If you’ve never switched, the best time to switch suppliers is right now – you’ll quickly realise you’ve been overpaying for way too long.
Once an energy tariff elapses – they usually last no longer than 12 months - your supplier will automatically place you onto its standard plan. Unsurprisingly, this is often its most expensive. But this also means you can make significant savings by switching to a deal with a more competitive rate.
Even if you’ve switched gas and electricity suppliers in the past, but haven’t done so in the last 12 months, it’s definitely worth comparing energy quotes to see how much you could save – you could be well on your way to a better deal in the time it take to boil a kettle.
When prices go up
Another perfect time to switch suppliers for gas and electricity is when prices are about to rise - when one of the Big Six energy companies pushes its prices up, the rest are never far behind.
To avoid paying the newer, inflated prices, try and switch to a fixed rate plan before the price hikes kick in, or as soon as possible after the increases are announced.
And be aware that existing fixed rate tariffs at pre-price-rise rates usually have a set capacity, which limits the number of customers that can benefit before the supplier removes the tariff from the market. Once the tariff hits the capacity, it will be replaced with a more expensive, alternative plan.
As you can imagine, there is a high number of customers looking to sign up to the best deal, so these tariffs will be hot property once the new prices are announced. You can read more about fixed rate tariffs and compare the current leading tariffs in our guide to everything you need to know about fixed rate energy tariffs.
Before winter arrives
It’s also a good idea to try and switch to a cheaper deal before the winter months set in. The colder temperatures, combined with fewer daylight hours, means we use significantly more energy during winter than during summer.
And the more energy you use on the higher tariff, the higher your bills will be. It’s a good idea to compare energy prices during summer or early autumn, so you’re up to speed with the best rate before the longer, colder nights draw in.
When your current deal expires
It’s now mandatory for all tariffs (except standard/evergreen tariffs) to have a confirmed end date, which means it’s important to know when your current energy deal is due to end, so you can switch to a better rate before you’re rolled onto a standard variable tariff.
As mentioned above, most tariffs run for 12 months, so be sure to keep a note in your diary of your start and end date. You can begin arranging a new energy contract when your switching window opens, which is 49 days before your current tariff’s end date. The great thing about this period is that you won’t incur any cancellation fees by agreeing a new contract.
Switching to another deal is the best way to play the market, ensuring you avoid the dreaded standard tariff and continue to benefit from the lowest prices for your gas and electricity. In doing this, you're also helping to ensure that the market remains competitive, as suppliers compete to win custom, so everyone’s a winner.
To find out more, check out What happens when your energy tariff ends?
How long does it take to switch energy suppliers?
Although it only takes a few minutes to compare gas and electricity switch offers online, the actual switch could take a couple of weeks as your old needs to arrange the details of the switch with your new one.
Switching gas and electricity suppliers should take no longer than 17 days from the date you compared prices and agreed to the switch, which includes a 14-day cooling off period during which time you can change your mind about the switch without incurring any penalty fees.
What is Faster Switching by Ofgem about?
Faster Switching is an Ofgem project designed to make switching easier, faster and more cost-effective.
The first of the changes went live in July 2022, with energy suppliers offering the opportunity to switch within 5 working days.
Faster Switching will have two different options depending on whether you switch after or within your cooling-off period (which is the 14-day window where you can cancel your contract if you decide to change your mind).
For switching within the cooling-off period, the switch will take place within five working days and you will start paying for energy as soon as the switch has been completed. You will still get a 14-day cooling-off period and so you can always cancel within this time if you change your mind. But if you have already started paying for energy within that period, you will still need to pay your energy supplier for any energy you have use.
For switching after the cooling-off period, the process should take place within five working days after the cooling-off period has finished.
To start switching utility suppliers, simply enter your postcode in the box at the top of the page. This will take you to our switching too where you just need to enter a few details about your property type and energy supply so we can show you the best dual energy deals available. Or, if you prefer, you can compare gas and electricity deals separately.
Once you’ve found an energy deal that suits you, we’ll take care of the rest. And switching with us won’t cost you a penny. Enter your postcode in the box below to get started, or give our energy switching experts a call on 0800 688 8773.