What Happens When My Energy Contract Ends?
Is your gas or electricity contract coming to an end? Perhaps you’re not even sure what tariff you’re on or when it ends? We can help you with all this and more. In this guide, we’ll give you some top tips on how to change your energy supplier and what to do when your tariff deal ends.
We’ll also let you know how often you can switch energy suppliers. There is no need to be trapped. Keep reading to see how you can be free…
Out of contract options
If you find yourself in a position where your contract has expired, the good news is you have options! Here’s what you can do:
- Switch - Why not try a new provider? With hundreds of tariffs on the market, you will find lots of great deals. Now that you’re free of your contract, it would be a good time to switch and you won’t see any change in service.
- Stay - You can stay with your supplier and you don’t need to do anything. If you stay, you will most likely be put on a variable tariff, which is more expensive. While this is a tempting option as you don’t need to pick up the phone, it only takes minutes to set up a new energy supplier. You’ll be thanking yourself in the months to come.
- Renegotiate - Give your current supplier a call. Explain that your contract has ended and you would like to see if they have a better deal for you. They will be able to look at your usage and inform you if they have anything more suitable.
How to switch energy suppliers
If your contract has ended, you can easily switch energy suppliers. To do so, follow these simple steps:
- Work out which tariff you were on and do a comparison of the different suppliers across the market. To get a fair comparison, you should contact a comparison site or company, either by phone or getting quotes online.
- Once you have decided which tariff and supplier you want for your future rates, you should proceed with that quote.
- You will be asked to take a meter reading, which you can provide over the phone or online.
- The new energy supplier will do everything for you and you don’t even need to contact your old provider.
- The switch should take place within 21 days.
- Enjoy your new tariff and savings.
How often can you switch energy supplier?
So, how often can you switch energy supplier? You’re allowed to switch energy supplier every 28 days. As we mentioned earlier, there may be an exit fee if you terminate your contract early. You would need to weigh up whether or not it is worth your while paying the exit fee to terminate early. This will depend on how much you can save by switching to another provider and tariff.
How long does it take to switch?
The majority of energy suppliers are part of the Energy Switch Guarantee. This means your switch should take no longer than 21 days. You can check with your new energy provider at the time of agreeing to your quote and before making the payment.
Once you have your gas supplier’s name, you can start the switching process. We suggest you get quotes from multiple suppliers to make sure you get a good deal.
Can you renegotiate a better deal with your energy supplier?
You may be able to renegotiate a better deal with your energy supplier. If you want to go down this route, it’s best to give them a call. This will be the fastest way to get an answer.
Ask them if they have any other tariffs that would be better suited to your home and bring the monthly cost down. Alternatively, you can quote rates they offer to new customers only and point out that you have been and wish to continue being a loyal customer and would like to be rewarded with a better deal than the standard variable tariff.
By looking at your energy consumption in your previous bills, they may be able to suggest a better deal for you.
End of contract: should I stay or should I go?
As we mentioned earlier, if you stay with your supplier when your contract has ended, you will be placed on a different rate.
Here are the pros and cons of staying:
It’s easy - You don’t have to do anything. Your contract will just roll onto a new rate.
Cost - You will see an increase in your utility bills. This is because the new rate will not be the one you negotiated at the start of your contract.
Here are the pros and cons of going:
It’s a simple process to switch - You only have to choose your new tariff and provider. Once you contact the new supplier, they will do the rest.
You could potentially save hundreds of pounds a year with a cheaper deal.
Same gas and electricity - There will be no change to your gas and electricity supply. It all comes from the same source and you won’t be without either at any time during the switch. All you’re doing is switching the company that bills you.
Switching suppliers when you are in contract
Before you decide how to change your energy supplier, you need to know if your contract has an exit fee and when the end date is. If your contract has an exit fee, you will be charged a predetermined fee if you cancel with the supplier too early. However, if you move to a different supplier within 42 days of your tariff end date, you will not be charged.
If you’re not sure when your tariff is coming to an end, read our section below to see how you can find out.
Can I cancel my electricity and gas contract?
If you’ve been wondering “can I cancel my electricity and gas contract?”, the simple answer is yes, you can. There is nothing stopping you cancelling your energy contract and switching to another supplier or tariff if you want to. However, depending on your tariff you may have to pay an exit fee. The amount varies, although it is usually between £30-£60. If the proposed saving is considerable enough to warrant paying this exit fee, it may be wise to go ahead with the switch.
Many of us 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 set period comes to an end? The whole idea of fixed rate tariffs is to protect you against a rise in price, commonly experienced in the energy industry. This safety net only lasts for a certain amount of time, after which you’ll have to bear any price hikes.
It is frequently the case that after your plan ends, the base industry prices will have risen. This means that there probably won’t be anything cheaper on the market, than what you were paying. Also, your current supplier will almost always put you on their variable tariff, which is generally the most expensive.
How can I find out when my energy tariff is ending?
So, how can I find out when my energy tariff is ending? We all lead busy lives and it’s easy to forget a date such as this. It can be a struggle just to keep up with all those special birthdays, so it’s understandable that you might let this slip. Don’t worry, you can easily find out when your contract ends. There are a number of options available to you:
- Log in online - If you have an online account with your energy provider, you should log in and search for your contract timeline details online.
- Look at a previous energy bill - You will find important account information on your energy bill. This should include your tariff end date, among other details.
- Call your energy provider - Your energy provider will be able to tell you over the phone when your tariff is ending. Make sure you have your account number handy when you phone them. You will probably also need to provide some personal details to confirm your identity, such as your name and address.
- Wait for your end of tariff letter - This is your last-ditch choice as you will need to wait. Energy providers legally have to provide 42-29 days’ notice before a tariff ends. You could have a long wait though, depending on when your tariff is up.
If you have bills outstanding with your current supplier
If you want to change your energy supplier and you haven’t paid some of your bills, you may not be able to switch. If you have outstanding bills less than 28 days old, your supplier will simply add the amount you owe to your final bill. You should still be able to switch supplier.
If you haven’t paid your bills for over 28 days then you won’t be able to change supplier until you have paid the money back that you owe.
If your energy supplier goes bust
The first thing to be aware of is that your energy will not be cut off. You will be appointed a new energy supplier, called the ‘supplier of last resort’. As soon as you realise that your former supplier has gone bankrupt you should take a meter reading. You will most probably be put on a ‘deemed’ contract, which will be more expensive than your previous tariff.
At this stage, you should consider shopping around for a new supplier or asking the ‘supplier of last resort’ if they have a cheaper tariff.
To sum up
If your energy contract has ended, it’s not the end of the world. You have plenty of options and it’s a great time to shop around and find a better deal. As we mentioned, you could also just roll onto a new contract with the same provider.
Here’s a quick summary of what you can do:
- Switch - Find a better deal and switch in less than 21 days.
- Stay - Don’t do anything. Stay with the current provider but risk being on a higher tariff.
- Renegotiate - Contact your current supplier and ask if they can put you on a better rate.
Remember, you will have exactly the same quality of gas and electricity no matter which provider you choose. Whether you switch or stay, there will be no break in your supply. Why don’t you switch and start saving today! It costs nothing and is hassle-free. Call 02039 360059 or Get a quote online