How to switch to a fairer, cheaper, greener energy supplier?
All of us are spending much more time than usual at home due to the coronavirus lockdown and that means that we’re using more electricity and more gas. Unfortunately, this means that our energy bills could be going up at a time when many of us are struggling for cash.
A few of us at St George’s have been inspired by the Fair Energy Campaign organized at St John’s Hoxton. St John’s Hoxton have kindly given us permission to use this guide to help members of our parish switch to an energy supplier that’s easier both on our bank accounts and the planet.
Let’s be honest, most of us don’t switch energy suppliers very often. The big energy companies make money from this using sneaky ‘tease and squeeze’ pricing, where they offer cheap prices when you sign up that become very expensive after 12 months. Most families pay hundreds of pounds too much because of this unfair pricing.
But there are some good companies out there: Citizens UK have found two energy suppliers that are committed to fair and cheap prices. These two companies also sell 100% green energy so are environmentally friendly as they come.
If you haven’t switched suppliers recently, switching will:
Potentially save you hundreds of pounds in bills
Make sure you don’t get any surprising or unfair price rises in the future
Fight climate change
In short, switching energy suppliers using this guide is a win win win situation!
Who should I switch to?
As part of the Citizens UK Fair Energy Campaign, we are recommending people switch to Bulb or London Power. These are two new companies, but they are big and won’t go bust any time soon. London Power is run by the Mayor of London and Octopus Energy.
These two companies aren’t just recommended by Citizens UK, they came 1st and 2nd place in the Uswitch Energy Awards 2020.
St John’s Hoxton switched to Bulb recently (and saved loads of money), so we have a referral link we can share with people. This link will get you £50 credit and also earn £50 credit for the church!
How do I switch?
(It only takes 10 minutes!)
Step 1 Head to the new suppliers website:
Bulb (with a referral from St George’s)
Bulb is Uswitch Best Value for Money 2020. Get £50 credit for you and £50 credit for St George’s once your switch is complete. You don’t need to use any special codes, just click the link
Bulb (without a referral)
Uswitch Best Value for Money 2020. Use this link if you don’t want to get your £50 bonus or help save the church some money.
Step 2, Fill out the form.
Use some basic information about your current deal and find out how much you can save. This gives an estimate of how much you will save, if you have a copy of your latest bill click “Refine your quote” (on Bulb) or edit the approximate energy usage (on London Power) to get a more accurate estimate.
Step 3, Sign up to accept the quote.
This will create an account which you can use to follow the progress of your switch.
You’ve just saved money, signed up to a fair supplier and done something great for the planet. Who knew it was that easy?
What happens after I switch?
You will receive a welcome pack by email that explains your tariff. Before the switch goes through, the new supplier will ask you for a meter reading. They will send this to the old supplier to calculate a final bill (this should arrive in 6 weeks). The new supplier can dispute this bill if you ask them to.The switch will be complete in 21 days (Bulb) or 17 days (London Power) after you request a switch. If you pay by Direct Debit, this is when the first payment will come out.One last thing… We want to encourage more Londoners to switch to cheap, fair and green energy so we are counting how much money we save at St George’s through switching suppliers. We would be very grateful if you could send us an email so we can add you to our tally (we promise we won’t keep a record of your name or details).
Where can I get extra help?
Bulb and London Power both have extremely helpful websites. If you have questions you can’t find the answers to on those pages, you can email or call them.
Citizens Advice have an energy supply help page with loads of common issues that you might have with your energy supplier. You can call them on 03454 04 05 06 if you’d prefer.
All of these people are very helpful, but if you’re struggling with them and need advice from someone you can email Nathaniel and he, or another member of the St George’s Climate action team, will be in touch to help you out.
Extra help through the Priority Services Register
Both Bulb and London Power offer free support services to those in need. If you are:
Over 65 years old
Disabled or living with a long-term health problem
The carer of children under five years old
You can get access to help including paper billing, assistance reading meters, and more. New London Power customers can sign up for this when they join, Bulb customers can register after creating an account. More information is available on the help pages listed above.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Will I have to pay to leave my old supplier?
If you leave your contract early, your old supplier can charge you an exit fee but they can’t charge you if you are within 49 days of the end of your contract.
If you aren’t this close to the end of your contract:
Bulb will pay your exit fees for you after your switch is completed (up to £60.) London Power won’t pay exit fees but will delay your switch by up to a month
2. What happens if I’m in debt to my old supplier?
Both Bulb and London Power recommend resolving this before trying to switch. However, Ofgem state you have a right to switch if:
● You’ve been in debt for less than 28 days (your debt will be added to the final bill)
● or you are on a prepayment meter and your debt is lower than £500 for gas and £500 for electricity (in this case your debt will be transferred to the new supplier)
If you’re switching to a cheaper deal, this could help you pay off your debt quicker. For more help with this, call the Citizens Advice line above (or google ‘Ofgem switch with debt’).
3. Can I keep my Warm Home Discount?
Yes. You can apply for this through your online account.
4. Can I switch with a smart meter?
If switching to London Power from OVO, E.ON, First Utility or Utilita, then your smart meter will still work. For everyone else, including people switching to Bulb, your smart meter will stop being ‘smart’ and you will have to read it yourself like in the old days. Bulb and London Power are rolling out smart meters throughout 2020, although it might be a while before you get one.
5. I’ve changed my mind and don’t want to switch - can I cancel?
You can cancel the switching process within 14 days through your new online account.