- How can I switch energy supplier?
There are lots of ways. You can visit a supplier’s website directly or give them a call. Alternatively, use a price comparison website (like Hoppy!) You’ll get the most accurate quotes if you have your most recent bill handy.
Once you choose a new tariff, your new supplier will contact your old one so you don’t have to.
- How long does it take to switch?
It takes about 19 to 21 days to switch supplier. If there are any issues – such as if you have any outstanding debt – you’ll be notified during the switch process.
- I want to find out more about my energy and where it comes from
Electricity is generated via all manner of sources: coal, gas, nuclear and renewables. Some customers are keen to understand if they’re using energy that’s either from a low carbon or renewable source. Suppliers are obliged to tell their customers about their fuel sources and publish this information on their websites. To save you checking all the suppliers individually, check out the Electricity Info website to see environmental news and information about the UK electricity supply industry.
- Who are Ofgem?
Ofgem is the energy regulator. It stands for ‘Office of Gas and Electricity Markets’. Their remit is to protect the interests of energy consumers by promoting value for money and the security of supply. They supervise markets and ensure competition. Ofgem also ensure the delivery of government schemes.
- What does dual fuel mean?
Dual fuel is another term for ‘gas and electricity’. A lot of customers find it easier to manage both fuels with one supplier.
- What does ‘standard variable’ mean?
A standard variable tariff is an energy supplier’s core tariff. They don’t have an end date. Ofgem’s data shows that standard variable tariffs are often more expensive than fixed tariffs so it’s definitely worth getting a quote for a new deal if you’re on one of these tariffs.
- What’s a fixed tariff?
Fixed tariffs have fixed price rates per kilowatt hour, and an end date. Some are short term fixed – usually for a year – and some are fixed for longer. Fixed tariffs protect homes from energy price rises.
- When my fixed tariff expires, how can I renew it?
Your supplier will give you plenty of notice before your fixed tariff ends and tell you your options. You can either choose another fixed tariff from your existing supplier or switch to a new deal with a new supplier. If you don’t do anything you’ll lapse onto your supplier’s standard variable tariff and these are the more expensive ones.
It’s also worth noting that, once you receive your renewal notification from your supplier, you are free to switch without penalties – even if your current tariff has exit fees.
- Why do I need to give meter readings?
More meter readings mean more accurate bills as your supplier won’t estimate your usage. Your supplier will send you reminders, but you may wish to give reads monthly. Check with your supplier how they accept reads.
- What are the different meter types?
Meters come in different shapes and sizes. There’s the prepayment meter where you pay for your energy in advance and ‘top up’ your meter. Standard meters – the most common meter type – allow you to pay for your gas and electricity by cash, card or direct debit. Economy 7 electricity meters charge different rates for day and night usage, the night time rate will be cheaper.
A word on smart meters. The government wants the majority of homes across the UK to have a smart meter installed. If you don’t have one already, these meters deal directly with energy suppliers, meaning there’s no need to send meter reads and your bills should be more accurate as you’ll only pay for what you use.
- Are smart meters safe?
We’ve checked with Smart Energy GB. They say Public Health England sees no danger or risk from smart meters. The smart meters used in Britain exceed every UK and EU safety standard. So it’s a Yes from us.
- Should I pay by Direct Debit?
According to Ofgem, more than 50% pay their energy bills using Direct Debit. It’s quick and easy and you can spread payments equally over the length of your tariff. This means that even though you’re likely to use more energy in the winter and less in the summer, your payments will be the same. Your supplier will tell you how your DD is calculated and you’ll have regular reviews to make sure you’re not paying too little or too much.
- What’s an exit fee?
Suppliers sometimes charge exit fees if you want to leave a fixed energy tariff contract before it ends.
- I want to move home – can I move energy supplier?
Of course! You can compare quotes from your existing supplier and new suppliers. Any debt will need to be settled, then you can switch.
- What’s a kilowatt hour?
Also known as a kWh, a kilowatt hour measures energy. You’ll see them on your bill.
- What’s a Tariff Information Label or TIL?
TILs show all the key info relating to the tariff such as name, end date, exit fees and unit rates. They’re available on your bills and annual statements.
- Where do Hoppy's energy deals come from?
Working with energyhelpline's mega-powerful comparison engine gives us detailed info on energy tariffs available across the market. Hoppy also gives access to small independent providers you can’t always find on the major comparison websites.
- Can I trust Hoppy and Energyhelpline?
Yes. Hoppy helps Thousands of people save millions of pounds on bills every year by switching through energyhelpline. They were one of the first comparison sites so they’ve built up in-depth knowledge of the energy industry. They’re completely impartial, comparing deals from all UK suppliers, so you can rest assured you're getting the best deals out there.
All electricity and gas price comparisons follow the Ofgem Confidence Code, a voluntary code of practice that governs energy comparison websites, and means they have to treat you fairly.
- How are comparisons calculated?
Our comparison calculator compares your current usage details with tariffs for all UK suppliers to see who offers the best deals. It takes into account loads of different factors, such as your energy usage, meter type, preferred payment method, where you live and whether you’re after a dual fuel or single fuel tariff.
If you're on a fixed tariff that's ending in the next 12 months, it takes that into account as well. And it works out your savings based on the unit rates you're currently on as well as the rates you'll be put on when your fixed tariff expires.
If you'd rather see a comparison based on your current fixed tariff rates only - no problem. Just choose the filter at the top of the results table that says ‘Recalculate savings using last year's spend.’
For the most accurate comparison, take the usage from your bill and enter it into the kWh box. If you don't have one to hand, tell us how much you spend each month or, if you don't know that either, you can estimate based on questions such as how many bedrooms you have.
- How are service ratings calculated?
Switching suppliers isn't only about the cheapest tariff. Many customers want to know about other important things like customer service. The service ratings in our results tables give a guide to the level of service you can expect from a supplier using an easy-to-understand star system:
1 star = very poor
2 stars = poor
3 stars = average
4 stars =good
5 stars = excellent
Ratings are calculated using Citizens Advice stats. They include the number and severity of customer complaints received, customer service availability and the quality of their online services. The service ratings were last updated in July 2017.
- How does Hoppy and energyhelpline make money?
We offer consumers a completely free and impartial service to compare electricity and gas prices from all UK suppliers. We have commission agreements with most suppliers, but this doesn’t impact the way results are displayed on our results table. Below is a list of suppliers we have commission agreements with:
British Gas/Sainsbury's Energy
Co Operative Energy
Economy Energy Trading Limited
Green Energy UK
Green Network Energy
Green Star Energy
Robin Hood Energy
- Price changes and other factors influence the energy industry, so what will happen in the future?
Energy prices have risen steadily over the last few years, with only the odd dip. They're affected by so many different factors that it's almost impossible to predict what’s going to happen in the short-term. Trends suggest that prices will continue to rise in the long-term, so it’s important to regularly compare suppliers' tariffs and switch to save money.
It was surprisingly simple to switch to a new energy deal and I saved about £230.