Comparator 24 June 2022 • 9 minutes
Staying with the same supplier and on the same contract year after year is rarely beneficial for the consumer. On the one hand, staying put deprives them of attractive promotions and possible decreases in the gas or electricity price. On the other hand, because they allow their supplier to renew their contract automatically when it expires, they may end up with a dormant contract that is much more expensive than the market average.
These consequences are particularly regrettable since it only takes a few minutes to join the competition, as our energy price comparison tool works proves it.
Some people think that switching gas or electricity supplier is very complicated, that they have to send documents to the suppliers, that they must do this in advance, that it costs money, and so on. Of course, this is not the case! In fact, the procedures that were already available to everyone in 2007 were simplified even further in 2012.
Today, consumers are free to switch energy suppliers at any time. You no longer have to wait until the end of the current contract to see if the grass is greener on the other side. On the contrary, any time is the right time! You could, for example, take the opportunity to review your energy contracts if you are looking to get your gas and electricity from the same supplier or if you are moving house. The same applies if you are the owner of a house that will soon be unoccupied. Some suppliers even offer an “empty house contract”.
This freedom to switch supplier whenever you like implies one important element: there are no cancellation fees. Regardless of whether you had signed up for a one-year or a three-year contract, if you want to switch your energy contract before it expires, you are entitled to do so. In such cases, suppliers are not allowed to charge you a cancellation fee. Please note, however, that your cancellation will only be effective if you give one month’s notice.
In addition, consumers no longer need to do any administrative work. It is the new supplier which takes care of everything. They are responsible for contacting your previous supplier to cancel your old contract and start the new one. The only thing you will have to do is to provide your meter readings when the old contract is officially terminated.
In other words, cancelling your energy contract is a piece of cake!
However, before you join another supplier, you need to compare gas and/or electricity prices. Only then are you guaranteed savings.
As a rule of thumb, it is advisable to review your energy prices once a year, as this is how long the promotions normally last. If you follow this pattern, you can be sure that you will always benefit from the best prices. If you notice that your rates are not as favourable as they once were, you can quickly fix the problem by changing your pricing package or even your supplier.
In addition, moving house is an excellent opportunity for switching supplier. A new home often entails new requirements, so you will need to review your energy contracts.
Finally, if you read in the press that energy prices have fallen significantly, it is in your interest to check the monthly rates. You might be able to take advantage of a golden opportunity, as was the case during the first coronavirus lockdown! In the opposite situation, if the prices are high, as it has been the case for several months, it is still beneficial to use a price comparison tool, especially if your contract is about to expire.
Furthermore, some tools let you know quickly if your current contract is still advantageous in regard to the market. This is the case with, among others, the CREG Scan and our comparison website.
The answer is no. Since 1 April 2019, the law mandates that you pay off your debt to your energy supplier before you can sign elsewhere. For that reason, the supplier has the right to refuse the termination of your file as long as the debt is not fully paid off.
In reality, what happens after a contract has been taken out on an online energy comparison website? What happens to the data provided by the consumer? Energyprice.be reviews the actions taken by the various stakeholders in the energy sector step by step when a consumer changes their gas or energy supplier. These also apply when the switch is made via an online comparison site.
Signing up for an energy deal is essential in several situations (such as turning on an existing electricity meter). To do this, you need to enter your contact details in an online form or contact the customer service department of your chosen supplier.
Useful tip: some suppliers charge the entire annual fee as soon as your contract is renewed for another year. We therefore recommend that you request your change of contract at least one month before your old contract renews. If you do not know your contract expiry date, please contact us. One of our staff will be happy to help.
The chosen gas or electricity supplier receives your data and checks it to ensure that it does not contain any errors.
They then send you an email or a letter confirming receipt of your request to switch gas or electricity supplier.
As part of the process, you will receive the formal contract, which contains:
Please note that you have a legal 14-day period to cancel your new contract without charge. In general, cancellations must be made by registered mail.
After the legal 14 calendar-day period following your request, it is considered accepted. The new supplier will then inform your distribution service operator (DSO) of the change. They will then initiate your cancellation with your old supplier.
Once this has happened, your DSO will send you a request to read your meter(s). There are several ways in which you can provide your readings (detailed on the card that you will receive by post). The most common options are by post, by telephone, or online. In some cases, an agent may be sent to your home to read your gas and/or electricity meter.
Useful tip: if your DSO has an excessive workload, the request for a meter reading may not reach you in time. In such cases, the supplier will estimate your gas and/or electricity consumption in order to calculate your settlement bill. However, you can still provide your readings yourself or request an amendment to the estimated readings by providing your actual readings.
Your supply will commence at least 30 calendar days after your request. This time may vary, depending on which supplier you have chosen. You can also choose a deferred supply start date. The latest activation date depends on the supplier and the type of contract chosen. Please contact us for further information on this subject.
The options chosen when you signed up for your new energy contract (email or paper bill and payment by direct debit or bank transfer) will determine when you receive your initial instalment bill. You will generally receive it 15 days after the effective start of your supply.
If you wish to change any options (how you receive your bill, payment method, payment date or instalment amount), you can contact your new supplier to make the necessary changes. Most suppliers now offer an online interface which allows you to make any changes yourself (online customer space).
Once you have switched supplier, your old supplier will send you a final settlement bill, also called an adjustment bill. This will include the instalments paid and the consumption amounts recorded since your last settlement bill. You will either receive a credit note in your favour or a request to pay the outstanding balance. You will normally receive this bill four weeks after providing the reading(s).
This is the last step in the process to switch energy supplier. Now you can sit back and enjoy your new rates and any promotions you picked up on our price comparison website.
As you will have understood, switching energy supplier is easy as pie. You just need to do a quick comparison and choose the energy contract that suits you best. This step will only take you 5 to 10 minutes on Energyprice.be.
Once you have confirmed your choice, you simply have to wait until you are asked for your meter readings. There’s no other administration for you to worry about.
So why wait any longer to switch contract and save on your energy bill?