Can I change energy supplier? Should I switch as energy price cap set to rise - and how to compare prices

Changing energy suppliers used to be an easy way for households to save money on t energy bill

Ofgem have announced that energy prices in the UK will rise by 80% this October.

The UK is in the grip of a cost of living crisis, with soaring inflation and sky high energy prices hitting households hard.

The latest announcement from Ofgem will see households pay £3,496 a year on energy, with energy prices predicted to soar even higher in 2023.

Traditionally consumers would switch energy suppliers in order to get the best deal, but with the market in crisis, could you end up worse off?

Here’s everything you need to know about how to change energy supplier in the UK.

Ofgem have announced energy prices in the UK will rise 80% in October (Pic: NationalWorld/Mark Hall)

Can I change my energy supplier?

You can change your energy supplier at any time, but it’s important to consider a few things beforehand.

Firstly, you shouldn’t change providers if your current one will require you to pay a penalty or exit fee.

Consumers who are in contracts with energy providers will need to pay if they want to leave them.

These payments could end up costing more than any money you will save in the long run, so it’s vital to check your contract prior to changing.

Energy suppliers exit fees can range between £20-£30, but some will charge a penalty per fuel.

The best time to change your energy supplier to avoid this is when your fixed contract is ending.

Switching energy providers used to be an easy way to help keep costs down, but with energy prices spiralling, consumers will find it hard to get a tariff that is below the energy price cap which sits at £3,549 for October.

Many of the fixed rate deals which fall below the price cap are available for existing customers only, which means new customers who have switched over will not be able to take advantage of them.

If you really want to switch in the current climate, it’s important to be aware that you may end up actually paying more than if you had stayed with your provider.

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Will switching energy suppliers save me money?

Whilst switching energy suppliers used to be a guaranteed way to keep costs down, consumers will struggle to find a deal better than the energy price cap.

Price comparison website Uswitch offers consumers a variety of tariffs so they can choose the best deal, but it’s looking unlikely that with the current energy crisis any offers will exist.

Richard Neudegg, the Head of Regulation at Uswitch, explains: “The easiest way to save money on energy historically has been to switch energy regularly to ensure you’re on a good deal.

“With wholesale energy prices still high, though, most customers may find that staying put at the moment is the best course of action.”

How long does it take to switch energy suppliers?

Switching energy supplies is a seamless process that should take no more than 21 days.

Your new energy provider will get in touch with you to give you a predicted switch date.

Some energy supplies will wait until the 14 day cooling off period has ended before contacting you with an update.

Whilst waiting for your new provider to switch you over, you will not experience any disruption to your electricity or gas supply.

All will continue as normal, the only difference will be a new supplier name and hopefully cheaper bills.

What has Martin Lewis said about switching energy suppliers?

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has advised consumers to hold off on switching energy suppliers right now.

The current UK energy market means that households are unlikely to find prices that are cheaper than the price cap due to the current crisis in the market.

Switching energy may not offer consumers the same benefits as it would have done previously, with many of the fixed rates which might help households get a cheaper deal, only available to existing customers.