How to switch energy suppliers even if you’re in debt

Shopping around for your gas and electricity supplier can cut your utility bills by around £300 a year and you don't have to be in a credit with your current supplier to consider switching energy suppliers. In fact, it could help make it easier to repay what you owe.

Repaying a debt and switching

The options if you are in debt:

• If you've been in debt to your supplier for less than 28 days you can still switch. Any owed amounts will be added to your final bill from your old supplier.
• If you've been in debt to your supplier for over 28 days, you'll need to repay the debt first.
• If it's your supplier's fault you're in debt, they can't stop you from switching.

If you're in debt and have a prepayment meter

The options if you are in debt and a prepayment customer:

• As long as you owe less than £500 for gas and £500 for electricity, you can switch to a new supplier if you are paying off an energy debt through a prepayment meter.
• You are entitled to do so through the 'Debt Assignment Protocol'. This would mean your new supplier takes on the debt and you repay them instead, based on the new terms of your agreement with them.
• Prepayment tariffs are usually more expensive, so you may want to ask about the different options available to you, including if you can change to a standard meter. Most suppliers offer this for free, though some may charge.

If you are thinking about switching your energy supplier and don't know where to start, our advisors will be happy to help you. Please call 01259 220 000. We also offer a free and impartial online switching service. On average our customers save £322.70*.

*20% of all users over the last 60 days (17 Jun - 15 Aug)

Over 3m households have switched energy supplier in 2017

New figures released from Energy UK show that more than three million customers have switched their electricity supplier, so far, this year.

This is a huge 14% increase on this point in 2016. July this year seen 385,000 customers switch their electricity provider, 16% more than July 2016.

One in five switches went to small and medium sized energy suppliers and the rest went to the "Big Six" suppliers; British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE.

It's expected that the upward switching trend will continue in August after British Gas announced an electricity price increase of 12.5% for 3.1m customers. Duel fuel customers can expect their average annual bill to rise by 7.3%.

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK said:

"To see over three million customers switch this year and save themselves money is fantastic. There are now over 50 suppliers to choose from, which is driving innovation, improvements to customer service and providing an incentive to keep prices competitive as suppliers fight to keep and attract customers. "Switching is simple to do, make sure you are on the best deal for you by finding some time to switch or speak with your supplier this summer and you could save hundreds of pounds."

Tina Tietjen, independent chair of the Energy Switch Guarantee, said:

"Despite the myths about switching, it is simple, speedy and safe to switch and nearly 400,000 switched to a better energy deal last month. "You only need your bill to hand to find out if you can be on a better deal and your new energy supplier will take care of everything. Energy Switch Guarantee now covers 74 per cent of the market and provides peace of mind that switching will be hassle-free and quick switch so make sure you look out for the logo."

If you are considering switching energy supplier we can help. You can do a comparison through our website or call one of our energy advisors on 01259 220000. On average our customers save £308.01*.

*20% of all users over the last 60 days (12 Jun - 10 Aug) achieved a saving of at least £308.01

Over 3m British Gas customers face price hike

British Gas has announced that they are putting electricity prices up by 12.5% in September. The first increase in energy costs from the UK's biggest supplier since November 2013. Gas prices remain unchanged, meaning that the annual dual fuel bills will rise by 7.3% to £1,120.

The price increase will affect 3.1m customers, with 5.3m unaffected. The average bill cost will rise by £76 and Centrica, the owner of British Gas, has said it will give a £76 credit to more than 200,000 vulnerable customers to protect them from the increase.

British Gas said that the electricity price hike reflected the increasing costs of energy and delivery to customers' home, stating that costs have increased 16% since 2014.

Mark Hodges, head of Centrica Consumer, said:

"We held off increasing prices for many months longer than most suppliers in order to protect our customers from rising costs, so it is a difficult decision to have to announce an increase in electricity prices.

"This rise reflects an underlying increase in policy and transmission costs. We know that keeping energy prices as low as possible is vital, and our new standard tariff price has again been set at a level lower than most of the top 10 suppliers. We are able to do this because we have managed our own cost base tightly."

Hodges followed up the announcement with an appearance on Sky News earlier today. When the reporters challenged British Gas' decision to increase electricity costs, Hodges said competition in the gas market is good" and that their customers "have a choice" to select alternative suppliers.

"Customers do have a choice and can move to many other companies. The barriers to switching are low and that puts pressure on us. That's why we don't make decisions like todays lightly."

If you're a British Gas customer and facing more expensive bills from mid-September, we recommend that you compare other energy suppliers by using our simple online comparison and switching tool. Our energy advisors are also on hand to complete the comparison for you and offer you additional advice on energy suppliers, just call 01259 220000 for free and friendly advice.

UK to save up to £40bn on energy costs between now and 2050

Ofgem and the government set out plans to upgrade the energy system this week. By developing new technologies and services, they aim to reduce energy bills for consumers in the long term.

Domestic and business customers will have more given more control over how the use and store energy as part of the Industrial Strategy launched by Business and Energy Secretary, Greg Clark. The report, 'Upgrading our energy system' outlines a plan for a smarter energy system that will help homes and businesses make more informed choices about when they use electricity and charge products.

By removing the obstacles currently in place, the government aims to deliver a more flexible energy system and smart technology to make it cheaper for customers.

The UK's energy system has been changing for a while now, with over a quarter of the UK's electricity being generated through renewables such as solar and wind. The report addresses how this change can be embraced to ensure economic benefits for both businesses and households.

New technologies that help store and manage energy are emerging and the cost to produce and run them is dropping. This has provided the UK with an opportunity to create new businesses and jobs. It is thought that improvements to the energy system and the range of smart technologies being developed will help the country save up to £40bn on energy costs between now and 2050.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said:

"Upgrading our energy system to make sure it is fit for the future is a key part of our Industrial Strategy to deliver a smarter, more flexible energy system. A smarter energy system will create new businesses and high-skilled jobs, while making sure our infrastructure is able to cope with demand.

"It's an important part of our Industrial Strategy, given its potential to reduce energy costs, increase productivity, and put UK businesses in a leading position to export smart energy technology and services to the rest of the world."

By rolling out smart meters and enabling energy suppliers to offer lower tariffs and by making it easier for firms to develop smart appliances and gadgets, the plan will help consumers use energy when it is cheapest or get rewarded for returning it to the grid when it is needed.

Is your energy tariff coming to an end?

The following tariffs stop on July 31st:

Affect Energy - Fixed Saver July 2017
EDF Energy - Blue+Price Freeze July 2017
EDF Energy - Blue+Price Promise July 2017
EDF Energy - Blue+Price Promise July 2017v2
EDF Energy - Blue+Price Protection July 2017
EDF Energy - Blue+Price Protection July 2017v2
First Utility - First Fixed July 2017 (Full Service)
First Utility - First Fixed July 2017 (Online Only)
First Utility - First Fixed July 2017 v10
First Utility - Fixed July 2017 v11 plus 75 Reward Online Only
First Utility - July 2017 v7 Online Only
First Utility - First Fixed July 2017 v8 Full Service
First Utility - First Fixed July 2017 v9 Plus 100 Reward Online Only
GnERGY - GnERGY Fixed July 2017
nPower - Online Price Fix July 2017
Sainsburys Energy - Fixed Price July 2017
Sainsburys Energy - Price Freeze July 2017
Sainsbury' Energy - Price Promise July 2017
ScottishPower - Online Fixed Price Energy July 2017

If you're on one of these energy tariffs, you'll likely be moved to your currents suppliers standard tariff. Now is the time to shop for a new energy supplier as customers on standard tariffs usually end up paying more than they should for their energy.

To avoid this you can do a quick and simple energy comparison with Energylinx that'll show you what you could save. You can also call one of our advisors on 0800 849 7077.

On average our customers save £255.92* on their annual energy bill.

* based on 20% of all users over the last 60 days (20 May - 18 Jul) achieving a saving of at least £255.92.

Energy Switching Numbers Rise

The latest figures from Energy UK show that the number of customers switching energy supplier has risen by 12%.

The trade body said that 400,000 households changed their gas or electric supplier in June 2017, compared to around 360,000 for the same period in 2016.

The figures show there were 143,155 switches in June from larger to small and mid-tier suppliers, while a slightly higher number (145,028) switched from one large supplier to another.

Around 16% of the switches (64,580) were between small and mid-tier suppliers and 13% (51,410) were from small and mid-tier suppliers to one of the "Big Six" energy suppliers.

Energy UK estimates more than 2,500,000 customers have switched supplier so far this year.

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK said:

"Switching continues to become more popular as the energy market becomes more responsive to consumers' needs. To bust another myth it really does just take minutes to switch to a better deal and save money even during this hot weather. Look out for the Energy Switch Guarantee - a commitment by suppliers to ensure a simple, safe and speedy switch."

Have you had a look to see what you could save on your energy bills yet? It's easy. You can either do it or the Energylinx website or by calling one of our advisors on 0800 849 7077.

Ofgem Consider a New Energy Price Cap

A price cap on energy bills could be extended to many more households on low incomes, under plans being considered by energy regulator Ofgem.

Ofgem said on Monday that it would hold a summit in July to consider what form of "safeguard tariff" would be best, with one option being to extend the existing cap for the 4m households that are on prepayment meters to a further 2.6m vulnerable households that are currently in receipt of the warm home discount.

Currently, there is a limit on the cost of gas and electricity for those on pre-payment meters and it saves about four million people £80 a year.

The proposals come after a much wider cap in the Conservative manifesto was absent from the Queen's Speech. The Conservative Party made promises during their election campaign and they have now been accused of betraying millions of households after Ofgem announced the watered down proposals.

Theresa May had originally pledged a price cap on energy bills for 17m families during the general election campaign, but the policy wasn't mentioned in the Queens Speech. Instead a letter was written to Ofgem from business secretary, Greg Clark, asking for safeguarding "customers on the poorest value tariffs".

The response from Ofgem lists a range of proposals covering billing and switching.

Dermot Nolan, chief executive of Ofgem,

"We're focusing on plans that we will take forward with some urgency to offer extra protection for some customers."

That includes "a strong possibility that we'll extend the price cap currently in place for pre-payment meters to vulnerable customers as well".

Millions 'suffering'

Other proposals outlined by Ofgem include:

• A trial that would allow households to enter only their postcode and current supplier into a "digital deal checker" to view the cheapest tariff
• Requiring suppliers to inform customers of cheaper deals with rival companies, under a trial scheme
• A clickable option on all price comparison websites to ensure customers see prices in the whole of the market, not just preferred suppliers
• A cap on the charges levied when a pre-payment meter is installed under warrant

Savings to be made

Last year the Competition and Markets Authority concluded their investigation into the energy industry. They calculated that consumers were overpaying by up to £1.2bn a year. This is what led to the cap on the cost of energy for those on pre-payment meters.

Despite pressure not to put up energy prices, 5 of the "Big 6" energy suppliers raised prices earlier this year. The only supplier not to was British Gas but they are expected to announce a price increase after summer.

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK, which represents the major suppliers, said:

"Energy companies are committed to engaging with their customers to help them get the best deals, and switching levels continue to rise with over two million consumers having already switched this year.

"We are committed to working with the government and the regulator to deliver an energy market where competition continues to flourish and which produces fair outcomes for all consumers, including better targeted support for the most vulnerable."

Switch to Save

If you're unhappy with the cost of your energy you should check to see whether you could save money with another a supplier. Running a comparison is easy and only takes a couple of minutes, you can do it on Energylinx's website or by calling one of our friendly energy advisors on 01259 220000.

Job Posting: Outbound Telesales Adviser

hiring.pngEnergylinx is seeking an outbound telesales adviser to join their friendly, Alloa-based Call Centre.

Job Type: Permanent

The Role: We are looking for enthusiastic, friendly and self-motivated individuals, with drive and determination to join our growing business. You will be required to make a high volume of calls to both business and domestic customers, helping them to renew or switch their energy supplier. Your hours of work will be 20 - 30 hours between 1pm and 8pm Monday - Friday, with the possibility of additional weekend cover.

Key skills: We are looking for people that are comfortable on the phone, with a helpful and professional telephone manner. You will have a proven track record in delivering excellent customer service, as well as consistently hitting your sales targets. You will have a positive attitude as well as the ability to resolve any problems in a calm and reassuring manner.

The Benefits: A basic salary £7.80, followed up by uncapped individual commission. You'll be entitled to 28 days holiday and have access to an employee benefits scheme run by Perkbox.

As part of the application, you will need to complete a Disclosure Scotland check.

For a chance to join our team email or write to us at the address shown below, include a current CV and a cover letter telling us what makes you the ideal candidate.

Applications by email to diane.smith@energylinx.com with the subject line: Outbound Energy Advisor

Or you can send them by post to:

Energylinx Limited
The E Centre
Cooperage Way
Alloa
FK10 3LP


Closing Date:
Friday 7th July 2017

E.ON Launch Cap and Track Tariff

EON.jpgLast week, E.ON launched a new one-year energy tariff that promises to remain £100 below the average price of all energy tariffs on the market.

The 'Cap and Track' tariff will follow the Energylinx Price Retail Index, which tracks the price of all energy tariffs across the UK.

The tariff price will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. If the average cost has dropped over the quarter then the price of the tariff will also fall £100 below the average figure. If the market average goes up after a quarter then the tariff price will increase, but will never be more expensive than when the customer signed up.

Whilst the E.ON tariff isn't the cheapest on the market, the price can drop. The average price for customers signing up today is £955. The current cheapest tariff on the market is £850 and comes from Farnborough based supplier, OneSelect.

Chris Lovatt, director of residential operations at Eon, said: 'Eon Cap and Track provides peace of mind to customers that their prices are capped at the level they sign up to and are reviewed every three months.
'By capping the price for the duration of the 12-month tariff, we guarantee the price the customer pays will not rise above their start price.

'For many, this takes away the hassle of shopping around for energy, especially for those who don't feel they have the time to do so. This is one of the many ways we're helping to boost engagement in the energy market, particularly with people on standard variable tariffs.'

E.ON's Cap and Track Tariff is only avaliable from E.ON directly. Energylinx compares the whole market, so you can see what tariff saves your household the most money by doing a quick online comparison or call one of our energy advisors on 01259 220000.

Billing Code Audit 2017: Who got gold?

The Billing code results today showed that energy suppliers are delivering more accurate bills for millions of UK consumers.

The Billing Code, an initiative established in 2006 by Energy UK to drive more accurate domestic billing, has recorded year-on-year progress. Suppliers are measured against five criteria: switching, meter reading, energy bills and statements, payment and refunds and back billing.

Following an independent audit by PWC, today's Billing Code results have seen one supplier attain the highest gold award, meaning they are fully compliant with all areas of the code, while three others achieved silver and one bronze.

Supplier Results

Gold: EDF Energy
Silver: British Gas, E.ON, ScottishPower
Bronze: nPower

Tina Tietjen, Independent Chair of the Billing Code said:

"This year has been a fantastic year for the Code. As well as gaining a new member, we've seen one supplier achieve an award for the first time. Given the rigour of the audit process, maintaining the highest award is challenging and although we've had the best overall results, only one supplier was able to retain the Gold from last year.

"Together the Billing Code members send out more than 200 million bills each year and I'm delighted that they have risen to the challenge of improving processes. In terms of taking control and keeping costs down, clear and accurate information about energy use benefits customers enormously."