With so many gas and electricity companies now available, it's no wonder most people choose to stay with the same one they've had for years - finding a new supplier is scary, time-consuming, and above all, confusing.
I should switch to the most popular! - You could, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily the cheapest for you. Different packages work for different people. You're best getting a tailor-made package.
My supplier is the cheapest around! - Maybe they are, but are you 100% sure of that? It's worth looking around to findout which energy providers are offering the better deals just in case - you might be surprised!
My friends are with XYZ, so I am too - Your friends needs and energy useage may be different to yours. Energy suppliers are like prescription medicines - never use anybody elses even if they have the same symptoms!
That one off the telly has a good advert, I'll try them - Good advertising is no indication of a good tariff. They may have a great advert because they charge too much, and therefore have a bigger budget...
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There are a few of ways of doing this. You can visit each energy company website individually, as most suppliers will have their tariffs up on their site.
Alternatively, you can go through your Yellow Pages to find providers in your area and give them a call. By law they are required to make their proces public.
But if all this contacting individual companies sounds too much like hard work, there is another option.
Price comparison sites do all this work for you. They will compare gas and electricity prices from hundreds of suppliers in the UK and come up with a tariff that will save you money and help you to make a choice about which energy supplier to deal with. All you have to do is input a few details such as your current provider, how much you pay, and your postcode (so they can find suppliers local to you), and the results come back in an easy-to-compare format, helping you make an informed choice about your new provider.
Once you've decide on which energy company you like the sound of, get in touch with them and arrange to go onto their tariff. The process of transferring will usually take around 6 weeks, and you will be kept informed of the progress.
Don't forget to let your current supplier know you're switching, and pay any outstanding bills to them in full. Most providers will require 28 days notice of cancellation. If you inform them over the telephone, always follow it up in writing, and keep a dated copy for yourself.
When the time comes to switch to your new supplier, take a meter reading. This will aid your new supplier with billing, and prevent your old supplier trying to charge you for units they have not provided - yes, it does happen.
About the Author
J Tillotson is a UK author specialising in Energy and Efficiency