What happens when my energy contract ends?

End of contract

Many of us choose to opt for fixed price tariffs in order to avoid price increases and lock in an attractive price for a year or two. However, what happens when this couple of years comes to an end? The whole idea of fixed rate tariffs is to protect you against the inevitable rises that we commonly experience, but this only lasts for a certain amount of time, after which you’ll have to tackle the rises.

It is frequently the case that after your plan ends, the general prices have risen and therefore there will not be anything cheaper than what you have been paying on the market. However, it is still important that you switch, as your provider will almost always put you on their variable tariff, which is generally their most expensive.

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When should I switch?

Due to Ofgem regulations, energy providers must inform their customers 42-49 days before the end of their tariff. This will allow you plenty of time to find a new plan and carry out the switching process. Although switching times have reduced in recent years you still do not want to leave it until the last minute. The process takes around 3 weeks (21 days) which consists of a two week ‘cooling off’ period and three days switching. Leaving it too late could result in being transferred to your suppliers variable tariff, which, as mentioned above, is not a good idea.

NOTEAlthough in their notice letter, energy companies are obligated to send you information regarding cheaper tariffs, this will usually only include tariffs from their own available offers, so it is important that you compare the whole market.

Can I switch before my tariff ends?

The simple answer is yes, you can. There is nothing stopping you from switching to another tariff if you feel that this would be the best option; however, depending on your tariff you may have to pay an exit fee, the amount of which varies, although most likely to be between £30-£50. If the proposed saving is considerable enough to warrant paying this exit fee, it may be wise to go ahead with the switch. It also may be worth switching if the new tariff will extend the freeze past your current tariff’s end date.

If you have forgotten or are not sure as to when your tariff ends, the details can be found in the key information section on your bill.