With winter soon approaching, now’s the time to take a look at your energy plan and see if your provider really is offering the best deal.You’ve still got time to do the research before we head into the colder months, when you’ll need to start using your heating. These top tips from TOTO Energy will help you to switch energy providers in the most pain-free way possible.

If you’re concerned that switching energy providers is going to be a hassle, or will take a lot of time, then you shouldn’t be. Research from Which showed that nine out of ten people who switched energy providers found the process straightforward, and if it’s going to save you money then it’s certainly worthwhile. If you’re seriously considering changing energy suppliers, you should…

Compare Tariffs

energyBefore you make the switch, you’ll firstly need to compare other providers and tariffs on the market to see if you can find a better deal.

This part will probably take the most time. Luckily, there are plenty of nonpartial comparison websites that will do the work for you, and show you the features of several different tariffs in a really simple way. Money Supermarket, Compare the Market and uSwitch are just a few of the websites that you can use to compare.

Simply input a few details such as your postcode and the current amount you spend on energy, and the comparison site will do the rest.

Gas and electricity prices differ from regions, and some suppliers only serve certain areas, so the plans available to you may be narrowed down.

There are lots of different factors to consider when looking at tariffs. For example, you might want:

  • a flexible tariff that you can get out of at any time
  • an environmentally-friendly tariff
  • the cheapest tariff available

Top Tip:Research what the customer service rating is like for any potential new supplier.

Check If You’ll Incur a Fee

Once you’ve done the research and found a cheaper plan you’d like to switch to, it’s worth contacting your current energy provider to see if you’ll be charged a fee for cancelling your deal mid-contract.

You need to check whether you have a fixed-term contract, this lets your supplier charge you a fee to leave – this is called an exit fee and you can check it on your energy bill.

Ofgem rules state however that if you leave your contract 49 days or less before its due to end, then your provider can’t charge you, so this’ll be dependent on how early you leave your contract.

Gather Your Paperwork Together

Before you make the call to your chosen energy supplier, make sure you’ve got all of your paperwork together. They’ll need to take some information from you, so it’ll save you time if you have the necessary paperwork in front of you before the call.

Make sure you have the following information to hand:

  •         Current gas and energy provider
  •         Name of your tariff
  •         Amount currently spent on gas and electricity
  •         Bank details

Alternatively, you can apply online. Once you’ve spoken with your new supplier, they will organise the switch for you, although you’ll still be responsible for settling the bills with your old supplier. The transfer should take no more than three weeks to complete.

Top Tip: Change to online bills. You could save money.

Take a Meter Reading

Your new supplier will ask for a meter reading on the day of transfer – it’s important you do this so that you’re not charged for any energy you used prior to the switch.

You’ll also need to provide them with energy meter reference numbers, which are known as ‘MPRN’ or ‘MPAN’ numbers.

Once you’ve changed your supplier and got your new plan set up, it’s worth checking out different energy deals every year to make sure that you’re not losing out on money. If you’re set up on a fixed plan, then note down the end date so that you can start shopping around a couple of months beforehand if you find something better.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that once you enter into a contract with the new supplier, you still have 14 days to change your mind and cancel the switch. If you cancel your contract after 14 days, you may be charged a fee.

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