The UK’s energy regulating body Ofgem is making sure that customers can switch to their preferred energy provider in a quick and timely manner – 5 working days, to be exact. And if the companies fail to do so in the given time frame, the failed customer will be entitled to £30 compensation.
This policy will come into effect from 1st April 2024 in an effort to further motivate energy providers to complete customer switches as quickly as possible and to make switching energy suppliers for customers as seamless as possible.
Ofgem has seen a 9.3% increase in customers changing energy providers at the end of 2023 compared to October of the same year. And in light of the January energy price cap announcement and change, more and more people are switching providers in search of the best deal they can get as switching rates continue increasing month on month.
Ofgem announces energy provider switching compensation
Prior to 2022, if you wanted to switch energy suppliers, you had to wait up to 21 working days. In 2022, Ofgem officially shortened that period to 5 working days. But after further review, the regulator is now further enforcing this by setting a £30 fee in a new announcement that’s to be paid to the customer for missing the set 5-day deadline. As currently, companies are only forced to pay this amount if the switch is not made in 15 working days.
‘Customers who see better energy deals on the market or experience poor service must be able to vote with their feet and move energy supplier – quickly,’ says Melissa Giordano, deputy director for retail systems and processes at Ofgem. ‘As regulator, we have already slashed the amount of time within which suppliers must switch a customer by two-thirds to just five working days.’
‘We are now going further by requiring any supplier who misses that deadline to pay the affected customer £30. We are already seeing switching levels up from last year, and now, this new move – welcomed by leading charities – will further empower customers to take control of their energy bills this winter and beyond.’
Ben Gallizzi, energy expert at Uswitch.com, adds, ‘Suppliers have been required to switch consumers to new providers within five working days for some time now. However, compensation was only activated if the switch took 15 days or more, according to rules from the energy regulator, Ofgem. Moving forward, customers will be entitled to £30 compensation if the switch takes more than five working days, starting from 1st April. Most energy switches happen within a few days, but this new rule keeps up the pressure on suppliers to make sure changing energy deals is a seamless process for customers.’
Indeed, this decision will help customers save energy at home by speedily switching to the provider with the best tariff and it will hold the energy companies accountable.
April couldn’t come soon enough.