16th June 2014
By the end of 2014 the time it will take to switch energy supplier will be cut to just three days after a statutory two-week cooling off period.
Currently switches take around five weeks but the new timescale is a result of a deal made between the regulator Ofgem and Britain’s energy providers.
The changes coming in at the end of the year mean that once a customer signs up with a new supplier they will still have the 14-day cooling off period, with the switch completing three days after.
Ofgem has also today published new proposals to make the switching process more reliable and put next day switching in place by the end of 2018 at the latest.
Dermot Nolan, Ofgem’s CEO, said: “Consumers can change their bank in seven days, their mobile phone in just a couple, but have to wait significantly longer to switch their energy supplier. We know that consumers want a reliable and efficient switching process, and that concerns about it going wrong can put them off shopping around for a better deal.”
From August, new Ofgem rules come into force meaning suppliers could face investigation and fines if they cannot meet these timescales.
Commenting on the news, Richard Lloyd executive director, of consumer watchdog Which? said: “Faster, easier switching would be welcome news for consumers trying to find a better energy deal. Suppliers should introduce 24 hour switching as quickly as possible, under close scrutiny from Ofgem so that the cost to consumers of the new system do not spiral. It will also be essential that suppliers do more to introduce simple pricing so consumers can easily see the best deal for them before they switch.”
Jeremy Cryer, energy spokesperson at comparison site Gocompare.com added: “This is good news for consumers who will hopefully benefit from increased competition in the sector as energy companies try to retain customers who are more likely to leave them if they don’t think they’re getting a good deal.
“In this day and age no one should be put off from switching any service because they fear it will be too time-consuming or disruptive to move. A five to six week turnaround to switch your energy provider is unacceptable and this is another positive step from Ofgem, which needs to keep pushing the industry to improve its service and deliver a better deal to customers.”
Households could save upwards of £200 by changing supplier and independent advice is available from the Be An Energy Shopper website at www.goenergyshopping.co.uk.
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