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14 fictitious reasons why you don't switch energy supplier

By OVO Energy Tuesday 24 February 2015

Fact or fiction

Question: What do these statements have in common? ‘I before E except after C’, ‘Duck quacks don’t echo’ and ‘Switching energy supplier is difficult’? The answer, contrary to popular belief, they’re all false. 

We’re not going to give you a lecture on spelling, and we’re not qualified to discuss the finer points of waterfowl anatomy, but we can dispel some of the more commonplace myths about switching your energy provider.

Fiction:

It takes a lot of time and effort to switch.

Fact:

Getting a quote is as simple as typing your postcode into a website and hitting enter, then choosing the plan that’s right for you. And if you want to switch, all you need to do is give your new provider your personal details, including your name, address and a current meter reading. They’ll take care of everything else for you, keeping you up to date with the process and handling everything with your previous supplier. 

We spend four hours a day watching TV – you could switch during the ad break!

Fiction:

I have to deal with the hassle of telling my current supplier about the change.

Fact:

Nope. Once you’ve told your new provider you want to move, they’ll take care of this for you. Your old supplier will send you a bill for the energy you’ve used up to that point, and once you’ve paid them as you usually would (or they have given back the money they owe you), you needn’t give them another thought. Think of it as an amicable break up – no hard feelings!

Fiction:

It’s not worth my time for the saving.

Fact:

Well, that depends how much you think your time is worth! According to comparison service uSwitch.com, the average customer can save £228 a year by switching energy provider, which isn’t bad for a few minute’s work – that’s the equivalent of a cheap and cheerful holiday or a year’s subscription to a premium movie channel. 

Fiction:

If I leave my current supplier I’ll be saddled with exit fees.

Fact:

Well it could be true, depending on your contract. You might have to pay up to get out, but often the savings you stand to make far outweigh any leaving penalties. If you pay a £50 exit fee but stand to save much more by making the switch, then it could be worth it. The Competitions and Markets Authority says that 95% of dual-fuel customers of the big firms (between 2012-2014) would have saved from £158 to £234 a year per customer by switching tariffs or suppliers.

Fiction:

I can’t find who my supplier is or the cheapest deals in my area.

Fact:

You can find your energy supplier by looking at a recent bill, but if you don’t have one, give your local distribution company a call and they’ll tell you. Once you’ve got that, it’s easy to search online for good deals in your area – all you need is your postcode.

Fiction:

I need to hunt out lots of paperwork to make the switch.

Fact:

No you don’t. Most suppliers – including us! – can switch you with just your postcode and the first line of your address.

Fiction:

Switching provider will mean a break in my energy supply

Fact:

For all the media fuss surrounding energy suppliers you’d be forgiven for thinking they have individual access to your gas and electricity supply. But the reality is, it’s the same gas and electricity coming through your pipes regardless of who you’re paying for it, and your service will be uninterrupted if you switch.

Fiction:

If energy suppliers are all the same then I should just go for the cheapest.

Fact:

While the physical gas and electricity provided by suppliers is the same, there’s a world of difference between the companies that offer it. Sure, you want a great deal, but remember you’re entering into a relationship with your supplier, so things like trust and communication are just as important as price.

Fiction:

A good deal means there’s a catch, or their customer service is poor.

Fact:

Not all energy companies are created equal, that much is true. In addition to finding a good price (and reading the terms and conditions of the offer – boring but necessary), it’s important your provider makes you feel important and valued as a customer. Check out impartial expert review sites such as uSwitch.com, TrustPilot and Which? for their recommended providers, and ask friends and family about their experiences. Take a look at suppliers’ social media pages, too. This will give you a good idea of how they treat their customers.

Fiction:

I’ll switch and next year the prices will go up!

Fact:

Sadly, energy prices are always liable to fluctuate, but you can take steps to protect your pockets from price hikes. Some companies offer price promises in the event of rising costs. If you choose a fixed contract, we make it easy to re-fix your prices, so there will be no unexpected surprises in your next bill!

Fiction:

I can’t switch because I'm in debt to my current supplier.

Fact:

Some suppliers will try to prevent customers from leaving if they owe money, but Ofgem is working with providers to reduce the number of switches blocked due to debt. Depending on the supplier and your individual circumstances, however, many providers will allow it. Just remember you’ll still be accountable for any money you owe.

Fiction:

I can’t switch because I’m renting.

Fact:

Long gone are the days when tenants were at the mercy of their landlord’s utility choices. In fact, energy suppliers are one of the few things tenants do have power over, as Ofgem guidance was published in 2013 making clear renters’ right to choose their energy provider. So switch away, renters!

Fiction:

Small suppliers won’t be able to give me the service and products that the Big Six can.

Fact:

Ah, the falsest of all the false energy-switching claims. Sure, once upon a time the market was dominated by a handful of big-name providers – the Goliaths of the energy world – but nowadays there are many suppliers giving the Big Six a run for their money. In fact, in the Which? guide to energy suppliers, the top ten companies (which we’re part of) are all smaller suppliers.

Fiction:

I’m still not convinced.

Fact:

Well look at it this way, in the time it’s taken you to read this article you could have at least gotten a quote to see how much you stand to save. We bet you’d be swayed even just a little bit once you’ve seen that.

 

Feel like you're ready to make a switch? See if you can save here.

In our next edition of Fact or Fiction? we'll be taking a look at busting myths around the home. Be sure to follow us on Facebook or Twitter so you don't miss out. 

*Based on medium usage of 3,200kWh of electric and 13,500kWh of gas per year