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i This applies across the UK.

Saving money and increasing income

Saving money: Can I switch energy suppliers?

You cannot avoid utility bills like gas and electricity, but they can be costly. Keep them low by making sure you get the best deal.

Switching utilities is a useful budgeting technique.

There are many price comparison sites that can help you.

  • We suggest using one that has the Ofgem Confidence Code
  • Sites that show this logo offer ‘whole of market’ comparisons
  • This means you see unbiased comparisons

These guides are to help people keep fixed budgets while they deal with debts.


Many of us need more than a budget to cope with the cost of living. Do not wait to get help if you are running out of ways to pay your bills and heat your home.

Read our guide to dealing with gas and electricity bills to find out how to deal with arrears and lower your bills.

Is switching energy provider right for me?

People save money every year by shopping around for the best prices.

Here are a few things to think about before you switch:

Due to the high cost of energy, it may not be practical for you to switch right now. You may be on the best deal you can get.

Are you on a fixed term contract?

Most suppliers charge an exit fee if you leave a fixed term contract early.

Make sure your exit fee is less than what you save when you switch.

An Ofgem Confidence Code accredited comparison site can tell you:

  • If leaving your current supplier is better for you
  • Even with the exit fee

Are you living in a rented property?

Some rental contracts say you cannot change supplier.

This contract term:

  • Is unfair
  • Cannot be enforced

Your landlord or letting agent cannot stop you changing supplier.

Your landlord cannot take money from your deposit if you change suppliers except for:

  • Small administrative costs to change the supplier back
  • These costs must be agreed and shown in your contract
  • These rules only apply when switching providers

Your deposit could also be affected if:

  • You change from a normal meter to a prepayment meter
  • You change it without permission

Do you have a prepayment meter?

You can still:

  • Switch energy suppliers
  • Transfer debts of up to £500

You have to use the prepayment meter with your new supplier until you pay off the arrears.

Can you get a better deal from your current gas or electricity supplier?

Most companies offer a discount for paying by Direct Debit.

Or, if you get your gas and electricity from different suppliers:

  • You could switch if one offers a dual fuel discount
  • Contact your supplier to find out

Can I switch energy supplier if I have arrears?

You can still switch if you are in debt with a provider. Unless:

  • Your arrears are more than £500 on a prepayment meter
  • Your arrears have been outstanding for over 28 days on a normal meter

There are some exceptions to these rules, like if your arrears are the fault of your supplier.

Check with your supplier to find out more.

Utility switching in Northern Ireland

Energy comparison sites in the UK will not work if you live in Northern Ireland.

To compare tariffs you will need to visit the Consumer Council website.

Other ways to save money on electric and gas bills

Apply for Government help with winter gas and electricity bills

You may be able to get support from the Government with your winter gas and electricity bills if you are:

  • Claiming certain benefits or
  • On a low income

There are schemes offering up to £300 towards winter heating from September to March.

How can I get help to manage my budget?

If you are finding it hard to manage your budget, we offer:

  • Free debt advice and
  • A personal action plan to help you get your finances back on track