Ofgem has announced that customers will now be automatically compensated if there are any problems with them trying to switch suppliers, with companies required to pay at least £30 in compensation for each problem.
These automatic payouts may also be triggered if suppliers are late to refund credit balances to exiting customers or which are late in sending final bills. Switches that take longer than 21 days to complete or being mistakenly switched over to another company would also trigger compensation payouts.
The aim is to give people peace of mind that they will receive compensation if something does go awry, but also to give suppliers a wakeup call and start working to reduce the number of problems that arise, as well as boosting confidence in switching.
Research from Ofgem shows that many out there are still cautious about switching suppliers because they’re concerned that something could go wrong, particularly if they’ve experienced issues in the past.
“While the vast majority of switches go smoothly, too many problems are still occurring. These can cause inconvenience, and in some cases, real worry and stress for those affected.
“Today’s proposals for automatic compensation will strengthen protection for consumers who switch, and should serve as an incentive for suppliers to get switches right first time,” interim executive director of consumers and markets with the watchdog Rob Salter-Church commented.
Citizens Advice has welcomed the move by Ofgem, with chief executive Gillian Guy saying that the announcement will put “welcome pressure” on energy companies to ensure that the switching process is correct. She explained that you could save up to £300 if you do change providers and it’s right that companies should have to pay a price if issues like late refunds or final bills take place.
How to switch energy supplier
Comparing different tariffs and deals on a regular basis is a good idea because it means you’ll know that you’re getting the best tariff for your usage and the best service offer. You’ll also be able to find out whether or not you can cut your bills if you do indeed decide to switch.
When looking into switch, you should bear in mind a range of different factors when choosing your next company. This could include green energy tariffs, cheaper rates, no exit fees, types of meter, customer satisfaction scores and so on.
In order to switch, you’ll need your postcode, the name of your current supplier and the energy offer you’re on at the moment, as well as how much you’re spending on electricity and gas. Take a new meter reading so you can give your next supplier the information.
It can take up to 21 days to switch and if you do change your mind you’ll have 14 days to cancel from the date the contract has started with your new company. Bear in mind that there may be an exit cost to leave the contract if you decide to after this cooling-off period.
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