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Signs of swifter energy switching

The process of switching energy supplier appears to be speeding up, Make It Cheaper has revealed.

Switching energy supplier has begun to speed up following Ofgem’s pledge to enforce maximum 17 day transfers by the end of the year, according to price comparison service Make It Cheaper.

Its monitoring of the switching process, which is currently meant to take 35 days for households, shows it now takes an average 34 days, compared to 42 days at the beginning of the year. A study of 1,517 recent switches organised by Make It Cheaper shows: 

  • Average time taken to apply for a switch online is 15 minutes.
  • Time taken to transfer between suppliers is the same whether requested via a website or over the phone.
  • 93% of customers are now contacted by their new supplier within 14 days (up 11% since April).
  • Eon & SSE are the most responsive suppliers among the Big Six, while British Gas is slowest.
  • Newcomer Extra Energy seems to be coping with the demand of its prominence on the Best Buy tables.

Swifter switching table

From August, suppliers who cannot meet the current 35 day switching window (14 day cooling off period + 21 days to switch) could face an investigation by the regulator and subsequent fines. The changes coming in at the end of the year will cut switching time to three days following the statutory 14 day cooling off period.This will come as a welcome relief to the switchers who have found the process unnecessarily long.*

Jonathan Elliott, founder and CEO at Make It Cheaper, commented:

“Suppliers that take forever to get in touch is customers’ biggest gripe because they feel in limbo and have to chase to find out if the switch is actually going ahead. It gets even more frustrating when they are left lagging behind on more expensive tariffs through no fault of their own. So it’s good that there are signs of movement but suppliers still have a lot to do if they are going to hit Ofgem’s targets.”

To ease reservations about switching, Make It Cheaper offers a £100 guarantee to its customers if their switch doesn't go ahead as it should within 90 days. Further details can be found here:

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Notes to Editor:

*Investigation/fines if suppliers do not complete the switching process within 35 days from August:

  • Mary Williamson, from Bristol, requested a switch from Scottish Power to npower on 5.1.14 and went live on 21.3.14: “I am dismayed at the time that the switch takes. 2 months on the standard tariff of my previous supplier for the heaviest usage period of the year.”
  • Robert Dobbs, from Chinnor, requested a switch from npower to First Utility on 1.2.14 and went live on 23.4.14: “Over 2 months to complete is disgraceful. The time it has taken is simply not on and to add to that am being hit with high prices from the previous supplier until it came into effect!”
  • Keith Dancey, from Taunton, requested a switch from M&S Energy to First Utility on 18.2.14 but subsequently cancelled: “It would be helpful if an earliest switching date could be chosen, to avoid the risk of incurring penalty charges from the previous supplier. Because I couldn't do this I've had to cancel the contract, and will need to look again in about 2 weeks’ time. If you could specify an earliest date, it would encourage people to switch, as they wouldn't risk incurring penalty charges.”
  • Andrew Beal, from Andover, requested a switch from EDF to Scottish Power on 17.3.14 and went live on 20.6.14: “All they need are my details plus meter readings and perhaps 48 hours at the very most to actually switch. There must be a money making opportunity for them in there somewhere. Price rises don't seem to suffer delays. Profit at every opportunity, customer service has been relegated to a contradiction in terms and comes in as an also-ran.”
  • Alan Locke, from Solihull, requested a switch from Scottish Power to British Gas on 21.3.14 and went live on 15.5.14: “The switching time is ridiculous. They should be able to do the switch in five working days after the cooling off period.”

About Make It Cheaper: Based in Central London with 140 staff, Make It Cheaper has been the No.1 destination for businesses to get a better deal on their utilities since it launched in 2007. Following its acquisition of in 2012, Make It Cheaper also provides competitive energy prices and expert advice for households – online and via a freephone service. Its supplier panel includes all of the Big 6 and 25 of the smaller domestic and non-domestic energy companies. For businesses and charities it also offers savings across other overheads including: telecoms, insurance and merchant services. The company has appeared in the Fast Track 100 for the past three years and has won the title of ‘Consumer Champion’ at the Energy Live Consultancy Awards for the past two years. Its 2014 ‘Net Promoter Score’, based on 3,437 customer satisfaction questionnaires completed year-to-date, is 66.

Further information: Nick Heath 020 7654 0730 / 07720 297972 /