We often hear ‘facts’ about the domestic electricity and gas market. However, many are myths, masquerading as facts; you may hear them from uninformed relatives, friends or neighbours.
Here are some common myths about switching suppliers, given a reality check:
myths about switching supplier: FACT CHECKED
MYTH “I get my electricity from the Electricity Board and my gas from the Gas Board and I pay by quarterly bill: I’ll stick with what I know.”
REALITY That made perfect sense in the 1960s, when it was the only option available for domestic customers. But now there is a choice of suppliers, tariffs and payment methods. By sticking with what worked in the past, you may be paying more and has the complication of dealing separately with two suppliers.
MYTH “Energy suppliers are all the same so there's no point in switching.”
REALITY There are over forty electricity and gas suppliers in the UK domestic market, each offering a large range of tariffs. Variable, fixed and capped tariffs are on offer, and you may fix prices for up to two years. The domestic energy market is dynamic and suppliers are always introducing fresh offers to attract new customers. Switchers typically save an average of around £150 on an annual dual fuel bill, so it is worth you bothering.
MYTH “I have been with my energy supplier for years, so they are probably rewarding my loyalty by giving me a good deal.”
REALITY Energy suppliers reserve their special deals for new customers rather than loyal existing ones. So, unless you contact a supplier for a better deal, you are liklley to be kept on a more expensive tariff such as your supplier's standard variable option. If you have never switched supplier, you could save up to £300 a year by switching.
MYTH “It’s just too complicated and takes too long.”
REALITY An energy comparison requires only a recent energy bill and a postcode and the entire switching process can be done online. Switching supplier is a straightforward process: surveys suggest that only around 10% of those who went through with a switch found the process difficult. Switching is usually quick, taking on average just over two weeks.
MYTH “Switching involves too much upheaval and something always goes wrong.”
REALITY Only price and customer service change: you get the same gas, electricity, pipes, wires, meters and safety. All suppliers use the same facilities to supply energy; no work needs carried out in or around the home; and your energy supply will not be interrupted. Errors in the process are quite rare. The switching process is driven forward by your new supplier, which has every incentive to welcome you on board and ensure efficiency and smoothness.
MYTH “There’s no point in switching as the new supplier would simply hike up their prices after a few months and I’d be no better off.”
REALITY This could apply only if you sign up on a variable tariff. However, with a fixed or capped tariff, the supplier cannot raise the standing charge or unit price during the deal period. Indeed, the vast majority of those switching agree a fixed deal.
MYTH “I’m a tenant, so I can’t change my gas or electricity supplier.”
REALITY Unless the landlord pays the utilities directly, this is categorically untrue. As the tenant, you are the one occupying the house and using energy, and switching is up to you.
For more on this, please visit uswitch one of the main price comparison and switching sites. Their guide to busting myths is here