Looking for a cheaper gas and electricity deal? Worried that the switching process will be clogged with hassles and delays, and that your supply will be interrupted while an engineer carries out work at your home?
The Energy Switching Guarantee is designed to put your mind at rest on these concerns so that you can confidently shop around for a tariff that costs less than your current deal.
Companies supplying gas and electricity to around 70% of Britain’s households (including the likes of British Gas, E.ON, EDF Energy, nPower and First Utility) are signed up for the guarantee.
They’ve agreed to work together to make switching simple and smooth - and more suppliers are expected to follow.
What’s more, they’re all pledging to sort things out as soon as possible on the rare occasions when something goes wrong with a switch.
MoneySuperMarket energy expert Stephen Murray has called the guarantee “a big improvement”.
He said: “The thinking behind the guarantee is to allay the common fears and misconceptions that put energy users off switching and thus saving hundreds of pounds a year.
“The guarantee states that there’ll be no interruption to supply and no need for an engineer to visit the property to complete the switch – issues that concern many people. And if anything goes wrong with the switch, the firm you’re switching to will be responsible for putting it right.
“Switchers will know exactly who to turn to for help and for updates. It’s also good to see that any money you’re owed by the old supplier will be returned in 14 days.”
Whenever you see the energy switch GUARANTEE logo (pictured), you’ll know that:
- The whole switching process will be handled by the supplier you’re switching to
- The switch will be completed in 21 days
- You can stay with your old supplier right up to the switch, so you won’t get cut off
- If you change your mind within 14 days, you can stay with your old supplier
- Any credit on your old account will be refunded within 14 days of your last bill
Eagle-eyed readers will notice the change from 17 days previously to 21 under the new guarantee.
Stephen Murray explains: “The guarantee of completing the switch in 21 days is a change. Previously, there was an intention to switch in 17 days, but this was never guaranteed. Now we have a lock-tight commitment from the nine suppliers who’ve already signed up to the scheme.
“Beyond that, the aim is to get switching to be even faster – ‘next day’ switching has been mentioned as a long-term ambition. But it’s worth bearing in mind that everyone has a 14-day cooling off period when you can change your mind and go back to your original supplier.”
Tina Tietjen, independent chair of the Energy Switch Guarantee said the aim is to get 90 per cent of all suppliers signed up to the guarantee by the autumn.
She said: “The Guarantee is a major commitment by suppliers – from the largest to some of the newest suppliers in the market – and it aims to reassure consumers who may have reservations about switching.
“It also means that, on the very rare occasion anything goes wrong, customers will have the assurance they need that the issue will be resolved by their supplier.
“More and more companies are working to ensure they can meet the commitments of the Guarantee. It already covers around 70 per cent of the market and it has an ambition to reach over 90 per cent by October 2016. But it will not be enough to just sign up, companies have high standards to meet and maintain. I will be holding them to account in the interests of all customers.”
With the energy switching guarantee now in place, there’s no excuse for putting off switching to a cheaper deal on your gas and electricity. MoneySuperMarket customers save over £300 on average when they switch - and they all start saving here.
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