How Long Does it Take to Switch Energy Supplier?

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How long does it take to switch energy supplier? According to the most recently-available data from energy regulator Ofgem, the average switching time in Great Britain was 16.1 days for electricity and 17.8 days for gas (not including the 14-day cooling-off period) in 2019, through September.

Find out how this has changed in recent years, and see how long switching will take at most (even if your switch takes longer than average)—as well as a tip to reduce the time to complete your transfer.

What is Switching Time?

Ofgem measures switching time as the number of calendar days it takes from your new supplier submitting a switching request until the completion of the transfer (i.e., the date you're officially with your new supplier). Switching time doesn't include the time taken by your new supplier to submit the switching request—this will happen sometime during or at the end of the 14-day cooling off period (see below for how to use the cooling off period to reduce your switching time).

Energy Switching Time Scale

The time to switch energy suppliers has remained quite steady for the past few years, after a noticeable drop in 2015 when switching times improved by 5 days for gas and 2 days for electricity. Why is switch time important? Consumers are more likely to switch and be able to lock in the best deals when switch times are quicker. And with the average UK energy bill costing households over £1,000 a year, finding a good deal is paramount.

YearAverage Electricity Switching TimeAverage Gas Switching Time
201417.722.1
201515.716.8
201615.816.9
201715.517.0
201816.117.8
2019 (through September)16.117.8
chart showing time to switch energy supplier
Recently, it has been taking around 16.1 days to switch electricity supplier and 17.8 days to switch gas supplier

Maximum Energy Switching Times

Even if your switch takes longer than average, it should still be completed within 21 days after the 14-day cooling-off period has ended. Suppliers are incentivised to take all reasonable steps to meet this 21-day target, or else their supply licence may be at risk.

How to Reduce Energy Switching Time

If you're in a hurry to complete the switch—perhaps because your energy bills are high—you may be able to agree with your new supplier to start the transfer during the cooling-off period, instead of waiting for the 14 days to pass. The "cooling-off" period is meant to protect consumers by giving them time to consider their decision or perhaps find a better deal in the market. By waiving your right to the full cooling-off period (which you should only do if you're confident that the new deal is the best for you), you may be able to speed up your energy switch by up to two weeks or 14 days.

For other tips on switching energy supplier read our Energy Switching Guide.

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