The Difficulties of Switching Energy Providers

With energy costs on the rise and the last few British winters among the most severe and long lasting in recent memory, switching energy providers is becoming increasingly popular.  Consumers are keen to make the best cost savings possible on their energy bills.  Paying for heating, hot water and power for home appliances is a necessity, and managing to find the best deal on offer can potentially free up more of your money to spend in other areas.  If you are experiencing difficulty managing your debt, being able to find money just by saving on energy expenditures can make a very real difference to your circumstances.

There are a number of price comparison websites that offer switching services related to energy providers.  A typical energy price comparison website works by searching for the different deals and packages offered in your area.  You start by giving your postcode, current energy (electricity or gas) supplier and your method of payment.  The choices are then displayed and you can apply to switch to a different provider by filling out an online application form.

The process of switching can be relatively straightforward if you have a good credit rating and are not in debt with your current energy provider.  It can become more difficult if this is not the case.  Energy debt in the UK has risen in recent years, driven by harsher winters and the higher energy charges levied by the energy companies.  Recent research published by uSwitch reveals that close to five million UK households are experiencing energy debt.

Working out possible debt solutions is one way to make it easier to switch energy providers and find a more affordable energy package.  Debt solutions can include a DMP (Debt Management Plan) that allows you make one payment on a regular basis that is then spread out amongst your creditors.  It is in the energy companies’ interest to keep reliable customers.  Being seen to be able to repay debts on a regular basis can help rebuild your credit rating and smooth the possible switching process.

Another option is debt consolidation.  This involves bundling your debts such as unsecured loans, credit card charges and repayments into one consolidated loan that you can then repay more easily.  Debt consolidation has the benefit of allowing you to continue to be financially independent and not suffer the more drastic consequences that bankruptcy entails.

If your energy debt is less than £200 and you are already receiving your electricity or gas through a prepayment meter, you are usually able to switch to a cheaper energy deal.  Switching to another provider or to a cheaper deal with the same provider you are already with is more difficult if you have a large debt to the company and have a standard meter.  You can contact the Debt Advice Group to receive specialist debt counselling.  You should also contact your energy supplier as soon as you realise you cannot meet your obligation to keep communication open and to start working out a repayment plan.

Please see Debt Advice Group (you can call their 0845 phone numbers) today for help and info on IVA’s as well as other Debt Solutions.