New customer compensation have rules have been introduced by the energy regulator to help "deliver faster and more reliable switching"
Energy customers will receive an automatic £30 payment if they experience delays or mistakes when switching supplier under new rules from The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem).
From 1 May 2020 suppliers will be required to give compensation if:
- Customers are switched by mistake
- The switch takes longer than 15 working days
- Their final bill doesn’t arrive within six weeks
It follows the launch of Ofgem’s Guaranteed Standards programme in 2019 to “deliver faster and more reliable switching”.
Under the first tranche of rules, suppliers must pay compensation if they fail to meet minimum standards around spotting and correcting mistaken switches or refunding credit balances to customers.
Customers have received more than £700,000 compensation from suppliers since the programme was introduced.
Of these payments 27% have been for mistaken switches while 73% have been for late credit balance refunds.
Ofgem hopes the changes will give customers further peace of mind that they will be compensated if something goes wrong when they switch.
Mary Starks, executive director for consumers and markets at Ofgem, says: “More customers are switching than ever, with a record 6.4 million changing supplier in 2019. But we also know that a minority can still experience problems when they switch.
“As part of our commitment to protecting consumers and enabling competition, we are introducing these new standards to give customers further peace of mind, and to challenge suppliers to get it right first time.
“Going forward, we will continue working with suppliers and consumer groups to deliver our programme for faster and more reliable switching and ensure these arrangements are fit for the future."
Minister for Energy and Clean Growth Kwasi Kwarteng says: “We’ve made it easier than ever for consumers to shop around and record numbers are now switching suppliers to save on their bills.
“These tough new standards will ensure switching is as smooth as possible and consumers are always protected.”
How to find the best energy deal
Switching your energy supplier could save you hundreds of pounds a year, all you have to do is follow these three simple steps.
1) Check your tariff
It’s important to check what type of energy tariff you're on.
If you're on a fixed price energy tariff, the price you pay per unit of energy that you use won't change for a certain period of time.
Variable energy tariffs are often more expensive as the price you pay per unit of energy changes at the discretion of your supplier.
If your fixed tariff is coming to to an end or you're already on a variable energy tariff you should start looking around for a better deal.
2) Shop around
Price comparison websites are a great place to start when shopping around for a new energy provider.
They allow you to search through hundreds of deals from different companies quickly and easily.
You'll need to have a recent energy bill or annual statement to hand which contains details about your current energy plan.
If you don't have a recent energy bill, you can contact your current energy provider for the information.
As well as looking at price, be sure to check how their customer service is rated to ensure that you get the right assistance if you have a query.
If you find a better deal elsewhere then it’s worth switching provider.
Your new provider will arrange the switch and ask you to provide your most recent meter readings.
Most energy companies have signed up to the 'Energy Switch Guarantee' which means that it shouldn't take more than 21 days to complete your switch.
From 1 May 2020, suppliers who take longer than 15 working days to make the switch will have to give you an automatic £30 compensation payment.