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When Can I Switch Energy Tariff Without Paying a Penalty?

Shaun Starr |

September 2020

Switch Home Energy Min

Over 6 million households chose to to switch their home energy supplier last year, and it should continue to rise every year. At Love Every Savings, we are encouraged that more and more energy consumers are educating themselves on the benefits of regularly comparing energy deals to make sure they are keeping their household bills low.

However, there is some confusion around penalties for switching suppliers before the contract end date. So, we have put together this guide covering all you need to know to avoid unwanted exit fees and pick the best time to switch.

What happens when my energy contract ends?

When your energy contract is coming to an end, it is a perfect time to consider switching energy supplier. The best way is to use a comparison tool to see what the market has to offer.

While fixed-rate tariffs offer affordable electricity and gas unit prices for the duration of your contract, your supplier will automatically switch you onto a standard variable tariff, which is often quite expensive in comparison.

Your energy supplier is legally obligated to inform you 49 days before your energy contract is ending, so you will have plenty of time to compare the market and look for a great deal. During this period, you will not be subject to any exit fees.

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Can I switch energy suppliers without a penalty?

That depends on the supplier and the current contract you are on. Some suppliers do not impose exit fees, but it’s always worth checking. Most charge £30 per fuel, so it would cost you £60 if you wanted to switch both your electricity and gas.

The easiest way to find out what your obligations are is to check your energy bill to find out your tariff and contact your energy provider if you are unsure if exit fees will be imposed.

If you’re within the last 49 days of your contract ending, you won’t get charged any exit fees.

Switching from a standard variable rate to a cheaper deal

Standard variable tariffs are generally the most expensive tariffs on offer from energy providers. If you are on one, you should find a cheaper deal as it will reduce your household bills. Standard variable tariffs work by following the base rate set by the Bank of England when the base rate is low, prices are low, but if the base rate rises, then prices for households will rise.

For this reason, fixed-rate tariffs are often lower than standard variable contracts for households. Because fixed-rate tariffs provide a fixed unit rate, you have more certainty about the price you will be paying. There are thousands of home energy contracts available so it can be confusing to know which one to choose. To help, Love Energy Savings provides simple, and fast online home energy price comparison as well as dedicated, impartial energy advisors.

Switching from a fixed rate deal without penalties

If you are currently in a fixed-term contract, that has an exit penalty, you can move without a penalty within 49 days of the contract coming to an end, thanks to Ofgem regulations. Once your contract ends, most suppliers will switch you automatically to a standard variable contract, you can then switch without having to worry about exit fees.

How to find your current contract end date

It is important to know when your contract ends. If you're unsure, check your energy bill or get in touch with your energy supplier.

If you switched your home energy supplier with Love Energy Savings, we will contact you when your contract is coming to an end and will be able to assist you to find another cheap energy tariff. Otherwise, your energy supplier is obligated to inform you before 42 days before your contract ends.

No exit fee energy tariffs

There are tariffs available from some of the smaller energy companies that are fixed-term, offer competitive, guaranteed prices, but do not charge exit penalties. For example, Octopus and Bulb both offer market-leading tariffs which do not impose exit fees on customers.

The easiest way to find the tariff with the best value for money is to compare domestic energy prices with Love Energy Savings. We have access to all of the UK energy provider’s energy contracts, meaning you can get a great deal quickly and hassle-free.

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About the author

Shaun is an English Literature graduate with a passion for creating content to help save households and businesses money. He has a wealth of experience in professional services, so he knows the importance of business efficiency.

In his spare time, Shaun likes to get jamming with his band playing drums and guitar.