The Energy Switch Guarantee is a set of 10 voluntary commitments that energy suppliers sign up to in order to provide assurances to customers that they can switch from one energy supplier to another in a simple, reliable and hassle-free way.
The Energy Switch Guarantee was launched by Energy UK, the trade association for the UK energy industry, on 7 June 2016 with 8 suppliers taking part at launch. This has now expanded to 19 energy suppliers.
In this guide we explain what the Energy Switch Guarantee is and what it means for you, the energy switcher.
Why was the Energy Switch Guarantee launched?
Anyone who has switched before will know that the process of comparing prices and making an energy switch application is easy and straightforward. It takes less than 30 seconds to do a comparison using our comparison website and then another few minutes to fill in the application form. The real frustration has been that you have then had to wait 4 to 5 weeks while the switching process needlessly lumbered through archaic industry processes.
The Energy Switch Guarantee is designed to make switching energy suppliers easy, quick and safe for customers. It is a list of 10 commitments that will protect households throughout their switch — from sign up to billing.
Energy suppliers can voluntarily commit to these pledges, and in turn will be able to display the Energy Switch Guarantee logo.
What are the 10 commitments?
- All energy providers use the same wires and pipes, therefore your energy supply will not be interrupted.
- The switching service is free.
- The switch will take no more than 21 days from the date your new provider receives your completed application.
- Your new energy provider will not need to visit your home to complete the switch unless you agree otherwise.
- Your new energy provider will arrange the switch, including contacting your current provider to let them know you are leaving.
- Your new energy provider will send you details of your new energy supply agreement for you to check and you will have 14 days to change your mind. If you cancel in this time, you will stay with your current provider.
- Your new and current providers will work together to make sure you are not charged twice for the same energy.
Issues or delays
- If there are any problems making the switch, your new provider will contact you as soon as possible and will be responsible for putting the matter right.
Billing – your current provider’s responsibility
- Following the switch your current provider will send you a final bill no later than six weeks after the switch.
- If your current provider owes you any money, they will refund this to you no later than 14 days after sending you the final bill.
How is the Energy Switch Guarantee better than the regular Non Guaranteed switching process?
The Energy Switch Guarantee has certain commitments that all energy suppliers need to follow in any case, such as not interrupting your supply and giving you a statutory 14 days in which to change your mind. However, it goes beyond normal energy switching requirements is several important ways.
Faster switching – a commitment that your switch will be complete in no more than 21 days.
Specific deadlines by which you will receive your final bill from your old energy supplier and any refunds due to you.
Commitments requiring both existing and new energy suppliers to work together to avoid double-charging.
Responsibility on the new energy supplier to put things right if there is a problem with the switch. This is an important one as it stops suppliers bitching and blaming each other if problems arise.
Does the Energy Switch Guarantee cost anything?
No. Switching energy supplier is free and always should be. Please be aware that there some services out there who charge customers for switching them. We recommend you avoid using any service that charges you for doing something that you can easily do for yourself for free. energyscanner.com does not charge consumers for the use of its services.
Does it mean that ALL switches will now go through first time?
Probably not. There will always be the odd glitch here are there with some energy switch applications. Switching errors are however a rare occurrence; less than 1% according to Ofgem figures. We are not convinced those numbers are right but, in any case, the Energy Switch Guarantee is helping improve things further.
So how is the Energy Switch Guarantee performing?
Pretty well we would say.
The administrator of the Guarantee measures each energy supplier against three main Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
The proportion of valid switches that are completed within the 21 days. The target level for this KPI is 98%.
The proportion of final bills issued within 6 weeks. The target level for this indicator is 90%.
The proportion of credit refunds issued within 14 days of sending the final bill. The target level for this indicator is 90%.
As at Q2 2018, overall performance is being exceeded on all 3 measures.
- Switching speed at 21 days or less is running at 98.3%.
- Final bills issued in less than 6 weeks is running at 94.4%.
- Credit refunds within 14 days is running at 92.6%
Which energy suppliers are signed up to the Energy Switch Guarantee?
The scheme was launched with 8 energy suppliers (9 energy brands) signed up to the Guarantee. This has since expanded to 19 energy suppliers (24 energy brands). These are listed below.
Why have more energy suppliers not signed up to the Energy Switch Guarantee?
Although current signatories represent 90% of the market by customer numbers, they represent a smaller share of customer switches. Indeed, for it to work properly you really need both your old and new energy supplier signed up for all commitments to apply. We would have hoped many more energy suppliers would have joined by now but it goes to show that the commitments are not that easy to fulfil. Indeed, there are some notable names missing from the list which may indicate that their switching and customer processes are not as robust as they should be or as they claim (no names mentioned).
Here is the list of participating suppliers.
- British Gas
- EDF Energy
- Energy SW (operated by OVO energy)
- Fairer Power (operated by OVO energy)
- First Utility
- Flow Energy
- M&S Energy (was operated by SSE now moving to Octopus Energy apparently)
- Octopus Energy
- OVO Energy
- Peterborough Energy (operated by OVO energy)
- Pure Planet
- Sainsburys Energy (operated by OVO energy)
- So Energy
- Southend Energy (operated by OVO energy)
- Spark Energy
- Tonik Energy
- Utility Warehouse
What if my current or new supplier has not signed up to the Energy Switch Guarantee?
It doesn’t mean you can’t switch to them, you still can. But the Energy Switch Guarantee will not apply when switching between suppliers that have not signed up to the arrangement.
Can any energy supplier become a signatory of the Energy Switch Guarantee?
Any energy provider can apply to be a signatory. Applications are vetted by an independent chair of the Governance Board to make sure they comply with all of the commitments. Signatories must also continue to comply with the standards relating to the commitments and will be regularly checked to ensure compliance.
Will we ever see something like a ‘switch in a day’ guarantee?
Good question. It will take some doing but legislation announced in the Queen’s speech of May 2016 allows Ofgem to push ahead with changes to industry codes that are needed to facilitate reliable next day switching. Government was aiming, rather ambitiously, for next day switching by the end of 2018. Well that was never going to happen. The target date now has been pushed back to 2020. Will that target be met – probably not but it will happen one day.
In the meantime you can get a comparison done in less than 30 seconds, an energy switch application done in a few minutes and, if switching to a company signed up to the Energy Switch Guarantee, your switch will complete in 21 days. This is a whole lot better than it was and could have you saving $100’s a year on your energy bills.
What are you waiting for?