The energy regulator Ofgem today announced proposals to cut the time it takes to switch energy provider. Under new plans, energy customers should be switched three days after the end of a two-week cooling off period.
By the end of 2014, energy suppliers will need to complete switches within two weeks and three days. The first two weeks is a statutory cooling off period in case the customer changes their mind and decides to stay with their old provider. Currently, it takes around five weeks to change supplier.
Ofgem’s proposal goes one step further, aiming to have 24-hour switching in place by the end of 2018. The two week cooling off period will still apply, but the switch would happen first.
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Welcome news for energy customers
Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd said: ‘Faster, easier switching would be welcome news for consumers trying to find a better energy deal. Suppliers should introduce 24-hour switching as quickly as possible, under close scrutiny from Ofgem so that the cost to consumers of the new system does not spiral’.
Ofgem will also be bringing in new rules to enforce these quicker switching times. From August, suppliers could face investigations and fines if they do not complete the switching process within a five week period, which includes the two-weeks cooling off time.
Switching easier with simple prices
To help people get the best energy deal for them, there are more steps that energy suppliers can take to help their customers. Mr Lloyd added: ‘It will also be essential that suppliers do more to introduce simple pricing so consumers can easily see the best deal for them before they switch’.
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