When is the best time to switch?

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We often get asked by people when is the best time to switch. Normally, this is easy – now!  

If you don't owe money to your old supplier, and you can leave without exit fees, then switch now, even if you're in the middle of (or just started) your current plan.

But at other times, choosing when to switch can be a bit tricky.

Maybe you're locked into your tariff, with exit fees to leave, or perhaps you've built up a large debit. In these cases, it's worth thinking about the best time to move to us...

Your current supplier charges exit fees

Some suppliers like to tie down their fixed tariff customers. This means that you can't leave without paying some sort of exit fee (sometimes called an early termination fee) of around £20-30 per fuel. 

To avoid paying the fees, you have to wait until your "switching window" opens near the end of your contract. This is 42 days before the contract ends, when you receive an end-of-tariff notice from your current supplier. You can switch at any time during this window and you won't pay exit fees – even if you move before your old tariff expires.

So, we recommend waiting until the switching window opens before starting your move to us. The earliest we can begin the switching process is 42 days in advance of the contract end date. And it usually takes 3 working days for your switch to complete.

Are exit fees always a barrier to switching?

Not always. You could pay less overall by moving to us sooner, even with the exit fees taken into account. Check whether your projected savings with us compensate for the exit fees under your current tariff. If so, it's usually better you switch now rather than waiting for your switching window (assuming you don't owe them money). 

You might also think that our green credentials, transparent pricing, and 5 star TrustPilot-reviewed customer service are worth paying a bit more for. 

You owe your current supplier money

Assuming there are no exit fees, or you're happy to pay them, then check your energy balance. If you owe your supplier money, they might object to the switch. This often leads to serious delays, and means you have to pay your old supplier's rates for longer. 

If you do have a debit, send your current supplier a meter reading just before you switch. This ensures your balance is up-to-date and you know where you stand. Try to pay off any debit before you switch so your supplier doesn't object to your move to us. If you can't pay off the debit, ask them for a payment plan – you can continue to pay under this agreement while on supply with us.

(Unsurprisingly, if they owe you money, the switch will go through unimpeded. Expect to get your cash with your final bill.)

So, to avoid delays, our advice is to update your balance with a meter reading, pay off any debt, then switch. 

So there you have it. If you're worried about cancelling your current plan too early, or paying exit fees, wait for your switching window to open. Otherwise, provided any big debits are under a payment plan, you can switch straight away – and we can't wait to welcome you on board.

Published on 7th December 2016 by:

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Chris Roper


Hey I'm Constantine, welcome to Octopus Energy!