The government has made significant adjustments to the energy industry.
Important : On October 1, the price ceiling was replaced with a roughly 27% higher 'price guarantee rate' scheduled to last six months, raising the average annual cost from £1,971/yr to £ 2,500 (if you use more, you'll pay more). This tutorial focuses on what you need to know about switching energy, but for most people, switching right now isn't worth it or isn't doable. We've archived this tutorial for the time being, but we've retained the material below for reference.
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Is it worth ditching the price cap for a fixed deal?
» While there are no open-market fixed deals to which you can switch from a price-capped standard tariff and save right now, some companies are offering short-term fixed deals ONLY to their existing customers, which may be worth considering as they may work out cheaper than the price cap rates if we look over the next year.
» In the UK, 12 solar panels are needed for a 3kW solar installation, and 24 panels for a 6kW installation.
» For comprehensive assistance, including Martin's step-by-step guidance on determining if an existing-customer-only bargain you've been offered is worthwhile. See our Is it time to repair my energy bill? guide for information on the newest discounts we know of that could be worth considering - which we'll update regularly.
Households to get £100s in support to help with high energy bills this year
» Following the announcement of a new cost of living support package by the government, all UK households will get £100s in assistance this year. Details are available below, or you can watch Martin's Q&A with (now-former) Chancellor Rishi Sunak on the announcements.
» Households in England, Wales, and Scotland will get a £400 non-repayable energy allowance. This winter, nearly all homes will get a £400 non-repayment grant, which will be put to your account as credit or issued as vouchers if you have a traditional prepayment meter. It will be paid in instalments beginning in October, rather than in one single sum.
» Those on means-tested assistance will receive £650. This will be paid in two instalments, one in July and one in October. To be eligible, you must be receiving a qualifying benefit or have initiated a claim that is later approved on May 25, 2022 (or August 18, 2022 if you are on pension credit). The second payment's eligibility has not yet been revealed. See the entire list of advantages.
» Those who get the winter fuel subsidy will receive an additional £300. The government will also supplement the winter fuel payment; if you qualify, you will get an additional £ 300 on top of what you would ordinarily be entitled to under the plan. This payment will be made in November or December.
» An additional £150 for individuals receiving disability payments. In September, those receiving qualified disability payments will get £150.
» Council tax rebates of £150 are available to households in council tax categories A to D.
» The payments were supposed to be made in April 2022, and while some have already received them, we know many haven't. The specific time will differ every council, but they have until September 30, 2022 to pay the rebate. More information may be found in our Council tax rebate MSE News story.
Switching energy is easy – though most shouldn't be switching right now
» It's simple to switch energy sources. The pipes, gas, meter, and safety are all the same; you don't lose supply; the only variation is pricing and customer service. However, with the energy market in turmoil, there is now nothing significantly cheaper than the price cap, so switching isn't worth it for most people right now. If you conduct a Cheap Energy Club comparison, you will almost likely not find anything cheaper.
The standard variable and default tariff ceiling is established by the regulator Ofgem and went into effect on January 1, 2019. If you haven't switched in the previous year or so (or your company went bankrupt last year), you're probably on one.
Previously, the price ceiling was revised twice a year. However, regulator Ofgem has now stated that the quota will be updated four times a year beginning in October.
In April, the ceiling increased by 54% to £1,971 per year on average consumption. The limit is also projected to climb again this winter, with energy consultants Cornwall Insight projecting a 65% increase in October, bringing an average bill to £3,363 per year, before another 8% increase in January.
To be clear, this does not imply it is the maximum anybody will pay. The rates are limited, so if you use more, you'll pay more; if you use less, you'll pay less.
See our What is the energy price cap? Page for additional information.
What are the price cap unit rates? Instructions.
Tariffs with price caps are still the cheapest on the market, although wholesale costs have lately plummeted.
Price-capped variable tariffs have historically been among the most costly packages, but in these exceptional circumstances, they are suddenly the lowest.
There are no considerably cheaper options for new users, and the lowest clear open-market fixed plan is 113% more than the existing price ceiling (approximately £ 2,230 more per year on normal consumption).
Q&A about energy switching
Concerned about the risks of switching? Here's a little video on how to prevent them. Subtitles can be enabled by clicking the closed captions symbol in the lower right corner of the video.
Important : This video was made before to the present situation. Most individuals should not switch right now.
Common switching questions
Including 'I'm in debt, can I switch?', 'Is it a big hassle?'
'How long will it take?'
IMPORTANT: The below questions and answers are written for normal times, when switching your supplier is the best thing to do. We're not in normal times right now, but hopefully they are useful for when switching becomes an option again.
No. You keep the same gas, electricity, and pipes if you switch. Only service and, more importantly, pricing change. It usually takes three weeks to transition.
All you have to do is compare prices, choose the best offer, then fill out your information. There may be hiccups, but for the most part, transitioning should be straightforward.
We can even do the legwork for you by comparing and staying on a low-cost package year after year with our new MSE Pick Me A Tariff service.
If you're on prepay, you can if your debt is £500 or less each fuel. If you're on a credit meter, it varies depending on the supplier and payment method. Some require you to pay off your debt before transferring, while others may allow you to switch and then pay it off - so check with your provider first.
If you're in credit when you switch, your previous provider will pay you after sending you your final bill.
You are correct in that they are similar in many aspects. However, moving isn't just about vendors. Energy suppliers, like mobile phone companies, offer a variety of pricing. One supplier may offer both the cheapest and most costly tariffs in the UK.
So, regardless of the company, the goal is to find the lowest tariff.
Energy suppliers have a 14-day cooling-off period that begins on the date you file your switch, so no action is performed until this time expires. Depending on the supplier, the switching procedure might take up to six weeks, however most should now switch you in three weeks.
You will not run out of supplies during this period. It should be a smooth transition from one supplier to the other. The only thing that has changed is the invoicing, not the actual gas and electricity that you receive.
Energy providers are expected to keep you informed about your transition (by letter/phone/email - keep an eye on your junk/spam folder). You may always contact your new energy supplier for an update if you have any questions concerning your move.
Within 24 hours, you should receive a confirmation email from the comparison site (definitely via Cheap Energy Club). Following that, you are entitled to a welcome package. It might take weeks (and some providers may even deny you switched).
First, consider how much money you'd save with each improvement. Then ask yourself, "Am I the sort of person who switches on a frequent basis?" Will you stay on top of it and remember to switch at the conclusion of each transaction?
If so, a shorter fix - which is usually cheaper - is worth considering (our Cheap Energy Club will notify you when it's time to switch again). However, if energy costs climb in the coming years, you may find yourself transferring to a more expensive package when your short-term fix expires.
The less likely you are to switch, the more you should think about a long-term solution. You may not receive quite as high a deal, but it will remain reasonably priced even if you are inactive.
If you are less inclined to compare and switch each year, you may use our MSE Pick Me A Tariff tool to help you choose your best tariff each year and switch with a one-click switch verification.
While it may appear unusual, switching may save you money even if your costs rise. For example, during price increases by suppliers, you may move to a new agreement to save money, only to have the price of your NEW tariff rise somewhat.
However, if you hadn't moved during the price increases, your expenses on your OLD tariff would have increased considerably higher. So, while you'll be paying somewhat more, you'll still be spending less than if you hadn't moved.
If you're relocating, some providers will let you take your fixed tariff with you. Costs vary by area, so if you relocate, you may face additional costs.
If you're mending right now, compare based on your new postcode (if you know it) because you'll stay there longer - and, of course, make sure the change is transferrable (so it can be moved).
No, no, no. This isn't about getting a fix. That might result in you locking in at a high cost - it's about locking in on the lowest repair, which could be with another supplier.
Yes, 30 days' notice, so you'll know when it's coming.
When you apply, suppliers frequently do credit checks, which appear on your credit report. These are visible to lenders. Each application might have a slight impact on a credit score in the future. Unless you're applying for a lot of credit cards and loans at the same time, it's typically not a problem.
If you can obtain a sense of utilization data from prior homeowners, that's fantastic. These numbers will provide the most accurate comparison.
If not, some comparisons include a moving service. Answer some simple details about your home, such as size and appliance use, and it will recommend the most cost-effective supplier.
Until you switch, the energy provided to the property will come from the previous owners' supplier, which is normally an expensive standard variable rate. As a result, make the changeover as soon as feasible.
The purpose of a fix is to protect you from price increases.
If you switched to a cheap fix that was later removed, you should be alright - you should get the costs offered at the time you applied (whether directly or via a comparison site).
However, things may go wrong. You could fail a credit check, or you might be significantly in debt to a supplier, and it tries to prevent you. If so, you should find out within two weeks.
It can only lock you in by imposing an exit charge that cancels out any savings you'd save by transferring. So, first, make sure your provider's solution is competitive. If transferring elsewhere will save you more than the departure penalty, there's little purpose in negotiating with your existing provider.
Whether not, while we've never heard of this occurring, it's worth checking if your current firm would forgo your exit charge and move you to their remedy - you can always press hard by threatening to leave if they don't.
Because UtilityKing is a network marketing company, its users may be eager to deliver the greatest discounts.
Because its costs are covered by comparison sites, just like others', make a comparison (scroll for it, as it isn't normally towards the top). However, some people appreciate it since it allows them to gain multi-utility savings (such as energy and phone together). The issue is that you're usually locked into the energy and phone components to gain the full advantage.
Remember that by repairing, you are not only saving money now, but also ensuring that prices do not rise in the future. You might potentially earn money back on top of the tariff savings if you join Cheap Energy Club.
Yes. There is no need to contact your previous service provider (unless, perhaps, you are in debt with it and want to discuss how you pay it off).
Direct debits are calculated depending on your estimated use. Some people discover that switching to a lower tariff increases their direct debit.
This is frequently due to the new firm overestimating or the previous firm underestimating. If it's too high and you overspend, you'll be reimbursed later. If it is an issue, you have the right to request a reduction from your provider. See Direct Debits for Energy.
You may and should compare and switch if you pay your gas and electricity bills directly (rather than via your landlord). Sticking with the prior tenant's supplier is typically expensive. As soon as you move in, take a meter reading.
You have the right to do this without your landlord's consent, but it's worth double-checking your leasing agreement just in case. If it is, talk to your landlord; nothing changes for them if you switch, so it shouldn't be a problem.
Even if your lease states you can't swap, question it. Preventing a renter from moving energy suppliers may be considered an unreasonable condition, so contact Citizens Advice to see if they can assist. It is your landlord's option if you pay for energy.
Yes, Cheap Energy Club can help you locate the cheapest energy costs in your region. Simply pick 'electrical only' to see your top fixes.
Yes, but only through monthly direct debit, which can save you up to £85 per year. Your bill will then be calculated, so take regular meter readings.
Now you understand that using the free energy price comparison tool of UtilityKing will not only help you to compare energy suppliers but also bring you the options to select the best electricity provider in your area. UtilityKing is also able to help you with energy switch to ensure that you will get the best energy deals from the cheapest energy supplier.