How to switch energy provider

Switching gas and electricity supplier could save you up to £300 a year. Here's how to do it.

We all know gas and electricity aren't cheap. Bills can up to well over a grand a year, and a cold winter can push them up even more.

But while we can't magic away these bills, we can slash this cost by up to £300 simply by switching supplier.

Here's how.

Before looking for a new supplier, have a think about what deal would be best for you. Would you be happy paying by direct debit, or viewing your bills online? Big savings are on offer for those who change from paying by cash or cheque or switch to online-only deals instead of getting bills through the letterbox.

But even if you haven't got internet access, or prefer paying the bills as they come along, if you haven't switched for a good few years chances are you can still save a fair amount.

Once you've decided on what type of deal suits you, gather together copies of recent bills so that you know roughly how much energy you use each month. Also make sure you've got your full postcode and current tariff name at hand.

Now you're ready to shop around for a new deal – and the best way to do so is to use a couple of price comparison websites. These will scour the market for you to find the best quote possible.

Once you spot a better deal, call your current supplier and let it know. Providers want your custom, so it might offer you a better deal in return for your loyalty.

If it doesn't, there's nothing stopping you from switching.

The switch itself should be fairly easy – all you need to do is take a couple of meter readings and then your new supplier should sort the rest out.

It takes between six and eight weeks but during this time you will continue receiving energy from your old provider. And don't worry; there will be no interruption to supply during this time.

If you change your mind, you have seven working days from the time you signed the contract to cancel it without being charged.

But remember, if you're on a fixed-term deal you might be charged if you switch it before the contract ends – so always check with your current provider and consider any exit fees when working out your overall saving.

Nearly half of us haven't switched energy provider in the past 12 months. If you want to be quids in, don't be one of them.