Moving House? Switch Energy Supplier

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UK households could save £300 a year by switching energy supplier, according to a recent Ofgem study. Moving house is a great time to start fresh with a new energy tariff, and put some extra money in your pocket to help you kit out your new home.

Drop in Energy Quality?

Your new energy will be the same as your old energy. One concern people have when it comes to energy switching is wondering if they will face some drop in the quality of their energy. Will the lights dim and the washer stop mid cycle? The answer is no! All energy comes through the National Grid. By changing energy providers you are only changing the service company you deal with for bills and any customer service issues that may arise. You’ll get the same gas & electric into your house (even if you switch to a “green energy” company).

Think of your gas & electric like a Samsung TV. If you want a new TV for your new home and decide on a Samsung LRD Full HD 32”, you’d shop around for the best bargain. It doesn’t matter if you buy the Samsung TV from John Lewis, Curry’s, Argos or Amazon - you’ll get the same TV in the end. But if Curry’s is offering the TV for £20 off, you’ll probably buy from Curry’s. Energy is the same principle. Regardless of your energy supplier, you’re getting the same energy into your house; you’re just paying a different price and dealing with a different company for billing and customer service issues.

Energy Prices Rising

Energy prices are on the rise in the U.K., as evidenced by npower’s recent announcement that their standard variable dual tariff would increase 9.8% (£109) on average in March 2017. Other energy companies are starting to increase prices as well, as you can see in the table below. Knowing how to price check the energy market and switch is more important than ever.

Price Increases as of March 2017ElectricityGas
Scottish Power4.7%10.8%
British Gas0%0%

The more energy we import from abroad, the more susceptible our home energy costs will be to currency fluctuations. The UK currently imports nearly half of its energy from abroad (a figure that has risen steadily as UK North Sea oil production has declined), as you can see from the following chart.

Chart showing the percentage of UK energy that is imported from abroad
% of UK Energy that is Imported

While global oil prices have remained low, we are now feeling the knock-on effects of the post-Brexit GBP slump. The chart below shows how wholesale UK gas and electricity prices have risen as the pound has dropped in value against the U.S. dollar. Between June 2016 and January 2017 (using the latest Ofgem data), wholesale gas prices are up 56% and electric prices are up 42%. Over the same period, the pound lost around 20% of its value.

Chart showing how wholesale gas and electric prices in the UK has risen as the GBP has dropped in value
Wholesale Energy Price Changes, with the Pound's Drop in Value

Can you Switch Energy Suppliers if you Rent?

Yes, you can switch energy suppliers as a renter - if you pay the gas & electric bills directly to the energy company (i.e., your energy is not included in your rent/paid for by your landlord). Read your tenancy agreement carefully – you may be required to let the landlord know you’re switching and you may have to return to the original supplier when you move out (your landlord may have a preferred supplier listed in the tenancy agreement).

The same applies to your method of payment. You are permitted to switch, from say a prepayment meter to a credit meter, but you may need to return the meter back to the original at the end of your tenancy.

Whether you are renting or buying, there are a few simple steps to remember when moving house. These steps essentially draw the line between your energy usage and that of the previous or next occupier, depending on whether you're moving in or out, respectively. Save yourself a potential headache.

Moving out...

  • Read the meter
  • Phone in the meter reading to the current supplier

Moving in...

  • Read the meter
  • Phone in the meter reading to the current supplier
  • Enquire about the current tariff (and any exit fees) with supplier
  • Shop around for a cheaper energy deal

With wholesale energy prices on the rise, it’s even more important to be quick to pull the plug on an expensive tariff. Switching may take a few weeks, but the steps are relatively simple if you know what to do. To learn how to switch and what to look out for, read the Energy Switching Guide from ValuePenguin UK. Perhaps you’ll save enough on your energy bill to pay for a new TV!

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