With energy suppliers simplifying the deals that they offer, all households in the UK are either a fixed or variable tariff customer. There are advantages and disadvantages to both and which one is best for you will depend on your own circumstances. Whichever deal you have chosen; one guarantee is that it will not remain the best deal forever. Eventually the best move will be to switch away from your current supplier in order to save money. When doing so, it is important to get the timing right so that you avoid any exit fees.
If you are currently using a variable tariff, there is a very good chance you could get a better deal. The biggest disadvantage of a variable tariff is that they are almost always the most expensive offering from an energy supplier. However, one of the biggest advantages comes if you are worried about exit fees. Put simply, there aren’t any. This means you should regularly compare deals across the market and switch your supplier as soon as you find a better tariff.
The only thing that might stand in your way is debt. If you are in debt and have been for over 28 days, your supplier can block any switch.
Fixed term deals are usually the best value for money. This is because by the very nature of the deal, you are agreeing to remain a customer for the full term. This is typically 12 or 24 months and for this period you will know exactly what you will be paying for your power. Unfortunately, the downside of this is that you are not as free to jump ship if you become aware of a better deal from a competitor.
While it is still possible to break free from a fixed term deal, doing so will usually incur an exit fee. The industry standard is for a £30 charge per fuel to be applied. So, for dual fuel customers, this can mean an exit fee of £60. If your current tariff is particularly high, it may still make financial sense to switch. However, you will need to factor this into any calculations when making that decision.
If you are within 49 days of your fixed term ending, you can switch without penalty. This applies across every energy supplier in the UK and is enforced by OFGEM. With this in mind it is advisable to start your search for a better deal as soon as you fall inside this window and start the switching process early.
Can I stay with the same supplier when my fixed term ends?
Yes. Once your fixed term ends you will be moved to a variable tariff. If you do not sign up to a new deal, this will happen automatically. When it does, no exit fees or penalties will be applied. Keep in mind that these are often the most expensive tariffs on offer, so it is not advisable to let this happen.
If you are not happy with your current tariff but would like to remain with your current energy supplier, give them a call. If you agree to move over to another fixed tariff they may allow you to do so without a penalty.
How can I find out when my tariff ends and who is supplying me?
If you have access to a recent bill, you will be able to find all the information you need. The logo of your current supplier will be visible across the top of the bill and the end date will be clearly stated.
If you are nearing the end of your fixed term deal, you will be given notice by your current energy provider. This will be by e-mail and by post, so make sure you don’t ignore them.
When you really can’t find any references for your current supplier, other tools are available. You can visit the Energy Network Association, or Find my Supplier and enter the requested details. From here you will be able to find out details of your energy suppliers.
Gas and electricity supplies are listed separately to each home. This means that you will need to check each one individually. You can always work out one and then phone that supplier to ask if they provide both fuels.
To find out by phone:
For your gas supply, you can call the Meter Number Helpline on 0870 608 1524. Let them know your postcode and the first line of address, and they will give you your MPRN (Meter Point Reference Number) and your current supplier. (Please note: The helpline costs 7p per minute, and is nationwide.)
Working out your electricity supplier is a little different. You will need the number for your regional network operator which you can find below:
|North of Scotland||SSE Power Distribution||0800 048 3515|
|South of Scotland||SP Energy Networks||0330 1010 300|
|North West England||Electricity North West||0800 195 4141|
|North East England||Northern Powergrid||0800 011 3332|
|Merseyside & North Wales||SP Energy Networks||0330 101 0300|
|London, East & South East||UK Power Networks||0800 029 4285|
|South England||SSE Power Distribution||0845 026 2554|
|South Wales, Midlands & South West||Western Power Distribution||0800 096 3080|