Switching Tariff with the same Supplier
We all know that you can switch to a new supplier to get a cheaper energy deal but what about changing tariff with your existing supplier. You can in fact change tariff with the same supplier but whether it is worthwhile to do so will depend on a few factors you need to take into account first.
Most suppliers will allow you to switch to a different tariff and many will be able to do this straight away so that your new tariff rates will come into effect the following day.
Why switch tariff with the same supplier?
So what are the reasons that you would want to change to a different tariff offered by your energy supplier. Let's take a real world example with a customer of renewable energy supplier Green. Green.energy releases new rates every month for most of their gas and electricity tariffs.
Green energy tariffs will increase or decrease depending on factors such as energy prices so when gas and electric prices increase they have to in turn increase the rates they charge on the next batch of tariffs they make available.
Let's say you joined Green early in 2021 when energy prices were high, you chose their variable rate Mahogany tariff where prices can go up or down but there are no early exit fees so you can switch at any time. Green releases a new variable rate most months to replace the previous variable tariff rather than changing the rates of the existing tariff.
Contrast this with other suppliers such as Bulb that only has a single vari-fair tariff that all of their customers are on so as Bulb energy prices change all customers are affected equally. With Green's customers they tend to have the same rates for a longer period.
So you signed up to the Green Mahogany tariff costing £80.88 a month and when you checked the latest variable rates from Green you noticed that they had released a new variable rate tariff, Hawthorn that only cost about £77 a month, about £3 cheaper.
You could now contact Green and ask them to switch you over to the cheaper rate deal at no cost to you and enjoy cheaper energy with very little effort. With Green they will switch you straight away but some suppliers may refuse to switch you altogether or the process may take longer.
So in this instance it was worth checking as Green released new variable rates monthly, there were no exit fees and Green were happy to switch you. Other than asking them to switch you there would be no hassle or inconvenience to you and you'd enjoy cheaper energy.
Switching with exit fees
If you are on a fixed tariff then it is likely there will be early exit fees which come into effect when you switch suppliers before the end of your fixed term. If you were on a 3 year fixed energy deal with Green you would be looking at a £72 per fuel exit fee, that's £144 of fees to pay for a typical dual fuel customer.
When you want to switch to another supplier and you are still within your fixed period then the early exit fees will come into effect. If you have significantly high exit fees, especially those associated with longer term energy deals then it will usually not be cost effective to leave early.
Some suppliers will allow you to switch to another tariff they have and forfeit the exit fees but you'll have to check. You can however switch if you are within 49 days of the end of your fixed deal without incurring exit fees.
You'll need to take into account any potential exit fee costs when factoring in your potential saving when switching to a cheaper deal.
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Can I save more by switching suppliers?
If your supplier releases lots of new tariffs then it is well worth looking at any potential savings by switching to a cheaper deal from your supplier. The potential savings won't be massive but it is easy enough to do with little hassle and nothing changes except paying less for your energy.
Unless you have done an energy comparison across all suppliers recently it's unlikely you are getting the cheapest rates. Some of the best rated energy suppliers have lower prices then the worst performing suppliers. With a bit of research you can get a cheaper deal from a company with a good customer service track record.
Switching to a cheaper exclusive deal offered with an existing supplier
Many suppliers will offer cheaper rate exclusive deals through energy comparison websites. You can get the same tariff that the supplier is offering but cheaper if you switch via an energy comparison site.
Most of these exclusive deals are offered by energy companies via comparison sites, essentially undercutting the tariff on their own website in order to attract new customers. You will find that many of these exclusive tariffs are not available to existing customers. However it is worth checking as some deals are available to existing customers and are not just restricted to brand new customers only.
At the time of writing Shell Energy is charging £95 a month for their 'Energy June 2022 v4 Direct Debit ebill' tariff on their website but the have a similar fixed deal costing £83.91 about £10 cheaper a month with an exclusive 'Energy May 2022 v3' tariff offered through Energy Helpline.
If you are thinking of switching to a different tariff from the same supplier or switching to a better deal from another supplier it is worth using an energy comparison service to see if the same variable or fixed deal is cheaper through them first.