What is Energy ‘Auto Switching’?

Switching energy tariff’s is a great way to save money, so why not try ‘auto switching’? The internet and dedicated energy switching websites have made this process more efficient by showing a potential customer a list of suppliers and the tariffs on offer. Now, with regulations ensuring that switching is as fast and as easy as ever, it is hard to see why not everyone is taking advantage of this progress and making sure that they are on the best possible deal.

How does ‘auto switching’ work?

Of course, in reality there are many reasons why so many of us opt against switching between companies. Sometimes it comes down to good old fashioned brand loyalty, for others a market full of opposing deals can be confusing or even intimidating, often people are wary of change and don’t believe that the process will be as straight forward as advertised. Whatever the reasons people have for staying put, there is another switching method that is starting to gain traction. Auto switching companies have started to appear over the last few years and are aiming to convince more people to take advantage of shopping around for a better deal with a significant twist on the existing switching websites. Auto switching aims to take the last bit of hassle out of the process by offering to do the shopping around and selecting a new tariff for you. Whilst you will still be able to cancel any new tariff change that is initiated on your behalf, in theory and if all goes well, you may never have to get involved in changing your supplier ever again.

Energy auto switching companies offer a service that provides hassle free energy supplier tariff changes for either a flat fee or a subscription. Each of these companies operates in a slightly different manner meaning that not all are offering the same service and some may be better suited to you than others.

When signing up to one of these services, as well as your usual details, you will be asked for details of your current supplier and the amount you currently pay to them. Once this is completed you will be shown just how much you could save by switching your energy account to someone else. If you want to go ahead and choose that better deal, you can complete the sign up, which will involve either a fee or subscription, and then the switch will commence. This is not the end of your relationship with the auto switching company. From here it will continue to monitor the market and if further down the line it is deemed appropriate, it will automatically switch you again. This time you will not need to have entered any details as the process will be fully automated as long as your subscription remains active. During this process you will be notified that you are changing supplier and will have the usual statutory right to halt the process within 14 days of it commencing. In this case you will continue to be supplied by your old supplier.

Questions to think about

There are a few things to consider when looking at auto switching companies in order to ensure that you find the best one for you.

The first is how much will it cost? Subscription charges and trigger points for payments will vary.

How big is the pool of energy suppliers? As is the case with more traditional market comparison sites, auto switching providers will each have a pool of energy suppliers that it can search. Not all will be able to offer every energy supplier on the market.

How is the best deal determined? Simply choosing a tariff on lowest price might work for many people, but certainly not all. Some people will want to be biased towards deals that offer green energy, or boiler breakdown cover for example.

How often are you likely to be switched? The process needs to be regular in order to ensure that you are on the right deal. However, if it becomes too regular the constant e-mails and requirement to provide meter readings for switching may become annoying.

What will trigger the switching process? Is this done on a purely periodic basis or are other factors taken into account? For instance, are all similar tariffs monitored and then when a particular deal becomes more expensive than another, will this be enough to initiate a switch? Of course there are both advantages and disadvantages to using a service such as this. On the one hand, you could save hundreds of pounds without ever having to even lift a finger. On the other, you are passing control of a vital service to an automated system that may not be checking the best deal for you or even biasing its switching towards commission paying energy providers. However, as these companies grow and continue to improve the service, it can only be hoped that it contributes to helping more people realise that switching suppliers can have a huge effect on slashing household bills.

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