Can I switch utility supplier if I have arrears?
If you’re in debt to your gas or electricity provider you can still switch to a different provider, except when:
- you have arrears of more than £500 still outstanding on a pre-payment meter
- you have arrears that have been outstanding for over 28 days on a normal meter
There are some exceptions to these rules, for example situations where your arrears were the fault of the supplier. Check with your supplier to find out more.
Other ways to save money on electric and gas bills
Apply for a Warm Home Discount
You may be eligible for a rebate on your utility bills. One way to find out is to visit gov.uk and apply for the Warm Home Discount Scheme. By applying, you could get money off your electricity bill during the winter.
While you don't receive the discount as a payment, the amount can be deducted from your electricity bill, usually between September and March.
You may qualify for the discount if all of the following apply (2015 criteria):
- your electricity supplier was enrolled in the scheme
- your name (or your partner’s) was listed on the bill
- you received the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (even if you get Savings Credit as well)
If you don't meet this criteria you may be able to apply directly to your electricity supplier for help if:
- you’re on a low income
- you get certain means-tested benefits
Check with your supplier to see if you’re eligible.
Utility switching in Northern Ireland
Energy comparison sites in the UK won't work if you live in Northern Ireland.
To compare electricity and gas tariffs you'll need to visit the Consumer Council website.
Apply for free home insulation
British Gas offer free loft and wall cavity insulation to households across the UK. This is being done as part of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme set out by the government.
Insulating your home can save you over £100 every year, as it prevents heat escaping through the loft and wall cavities. If less heat is escaping, you may find that you don't need to use your heating appliances as much, which could save more money. Read our free home insulation article on our MoneyAware blog for more information.