22nd April 2014
Changing energy supplier is set to become easier and much faster for consumers as firms commit to slashing switching times in half by the end of 2014 writes Philip Scott.
According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change this will cut the time it takes to switch supplier to around two and a half weeks.
Last October Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey called on energy groups to cut switching times dramatically, in a bid to help energy customers get the benefits of increased competition in the marketplace.
Davey says: “Faster switching is the latest in the many steps we’ve taken to improve the poorly performing energy markets we inherited from Ed Miliband in 2010. With more suppliers, simpler bills and less complex tariffs than in 2010, switching can now save some people hundreds of pounds off their energy bills. So we wanted to make it faster to switch, as well as easier, and now we know we can.”
The proposed changes have been referred to the energy regulator Ofgem, which will now make a decision on whether to approve the plans as soon as possible. Once testing is successfully completed from November, the industry will be able to start offering faster switching by the end of the year says the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
“While it’s great news we are making energy switching twice as fast, my long term ambition remains to get to 24 hour switching. Our ambitious programme to roll out 53 million smart meters by the end of this decade can unlock this and next month Ofgem will consult on the most effective and quickest ways to introduce next day switching,” adds Davey.
For those who want a better deal, Davey is encouraging them to switch supplier now, and notably between October 2013 and March this year more than two million consumers changed energy supplier on the back of better competition.
Commenting on the developments, Jeremy Cryer, energy spokesperson for comparison site Gocompare.com says: “Faster switching is a major step forward in opening up the energy market and making it quicker and easier for households to change their energy supplier. This latest announcement means we should see the time it takes to switch supplier drop from five, to two and half weeks and in doing so, will help tackle a major barrier for consumers who might otherwise shop around and switch more often.
“Though cutting the time taken to switch in half is a great step forward, we believe that 24 hour switching should be the ultimate goal. This would give consumers much more power over their energy suppliers and encourage more people to seek out the best deals and take more control of their finances.”