UK Energy Questions

This page will assist in finding answers to questions you have about switching suppliers.

Questions about SwitchWise Ltd

  • Who is SwitchWise Ltd?
  • How does the calculator work?
  • SwitchWise Service Standards
  • SwitchWise charges – None
  • SwitchWise referral fees received
  • SwitchWise website security

FAQ’s about Suppliers and Tariffs

  • Tariffs used in Databases
  • Tariff Details – In pop up box for each supplier
  • Late Payment Penalty Charges
  • VAT
  • Supplier Ratings
  • Non cash incentives for signing up with new suppliers

FAQ’s about Meters and Numbers

  • What does the Electricity MPAN or Supply Number mean?
  • How can I tell what Region my meter is in?
  • How can I find out who supplies the gas and electricity to my home?
  • How can I find out what my meter numbers are?
  • Equipment maintenance contracts.
  • PRIVATE GAS PIPELINES
  • Converting Units to Kilowatt Hours

FAQ’s about the Gas and Electricity Industry

  • What happened in the Gas and Electricity Markets?

FAQ’s about Changing Supplier

  • Why change?
  • Is it easy to change?
  • How do I change suppliers?
  • What information do I need to change?
  • Do I need to tell my existing supplier?
  • Transfers to your new supplier
  • Just moved in to new property
  • Moving House

What happened in the Gas and Electricity Markets?

In May 1998 the Government brought in new regulations to fully open the Gas market to competition. In May 1999, the same happened for Electricity. Since then people can change suppliers if they want to, and over 7 million people have switched in gas and over 7 million in electricity supply according to Ofgem.

Since then, companies have been jostling for market share, and new companies have joined in to offer services are lower costs. In general, the market competition has created opportunities for people to save money on gas and electricity bills.

One difficulty that people face is the complications of collecting each suppliers tariff data and making precise comparisons between the different pricing structures. This is where the SwitchWise Price Comparison Service helps. We work with UKPower.co.uk who do all the work to collect the data, and we have developed the website service on Switchwise.co.uk to make it easy for customers to make straightforward comparisons between suppliers prices.

There is zero cost to you for using the service at Switchwise.co.uk, so please use the links available on this site.

Who is SwitchWise Ltd?

SwitchWise Ltd is an independent private limited company set up with the objective of making it easy for people to compare gas, electricity and dual fuel prices between suppliers, and to make it easy to switch to cheaper prices.

For energy prices, we work with UKPower.co.uk who gather all the data from all suppliers and other sources and we have developed the Switchwise.co.uk website to make it easy to extract the figures relevant to your needs and to show comparisons between all suppliers in order of cost. Basically, all the work of collecting all the suppliers price details and doing the calculations is done for you so it’s easy for you to see the real comparisons between suppliers prices.

We have made this service as quick and easy as possible to enter your details and to get your results. Data entry is on one page, and all the results are on the next page. Full tariff details are available by clicking on the tariff names or the “view details” links on the results pages.

We earn our income from a small referral fee if you switch to a new supplier using the links on our website. This is paid to us by UKPower.co.uk and it does not affect the prices you pay to the supplier you choose because the prices are exactly the same as anywhere else. Remember, please use the links on our website if you decide to switch to a different supplier. We thank all customers who do this.

We go to great lengths to abide by all regulations and requirements, especially those of Ofgem and Consumer Focus (previously Energywatch). UKPower.co.uk, who power the comparison calculator, were one of the original pioneers in the energy price comparison business and were founded by the same people who have now founded Switchwise.co.uk.

We encourage and welcome your feedback which all helps to identify areas for improvement.

Thank you for using our services. We hope you have found some good savings and information on this site.

The SwitchWise Ltd Team.

Why would I want to change Supplier?

As with anything else you buy, there are choices on prices available. By looking around you may be able to save money buying you Electricity and/or Gas from another Supplier.

Is it easy to change?

Changing suppliers is easy to do. There are over 20 different suppliers to select from. In choosing a new supplier you need to check the price comparisons and this is where the SwitchWise.co.uk Saving Calculators can help.

The SwitchWise Service Standards

We welcome feedback and suggestions on how to improve our service and will consider all suggestions carefully. We aim for high standards of customer service and will respond to any complaints or enquiries within 2 working days. 

Enter your Postcode to start

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How do I change suppliers?

1. Use the SwitchWise.co.uk Price Comparison Service by entering your postcode, existing suppliers, and amounts paid, to obtain a complete list of prices available in your region.

2. Review the list and see how your existing suppliers compare with the others.

3. If you are still with your original separate suppliers you may find that you can save by switching to dual fuel with either one of them. You may be able to save more by switching to a another supplier.

4. When you are ready to switch, use the links from the comparison results pages, or the links listed on the Suppliers page.

Most customer reference numbers  will automatically be detected but you may need to have your existing meter identification numbers available as per your bills – MPAN or Supply number for electricity, and MPR for gas. (See FAQ about Meter Numbers).

5. When you arrive at the application form, complete all information and submit the form.

6. Wait until you receive communications from the new supplier with further instructions. At some stage you will be asked to provide meter readings which will be used by both suppliers to prepare final and opening bills.

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SwitchWise.co.uk Charges – There aren’t any!

Please note that, our service to you is free of charge. We do not actually collect any payments through our web site, nor do we enter into any direct contracts for the supply of electricity or gas. These items are handled directly with your new supplier who will provide you with details of direct contacts.

Some, but not all, suppliers pay a referral fee for new customers. This does not affect the presentation of results in any way as we show results with complete impartiality as required by the Ofgem / Consumer Focus code of practice. All suppliers and tariffs are listed using the filters on this website regardless of commercial arrangements.

We appreciate your custom and encourage you to switch to your new supplier through the links on our web site. We depend on your support by using our links to apply to new suppliers, and this helps to finance the operation of this free service.

 

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What information do I need to change?

Apart from your name, address and contact details, you need to know the names of your existing suppliers  and you need to have the meter reference numbers to hand. (See “How to find my meter reference numbers”)

Transfers to your new supplier.

Delivery of new services will be advised directly by your new supplier. Your new supplier will provide full details as well as their own Terms and Conditions which you should read carefully.

Transfers from one supplier to another can take between 4 to 6 weeks. The precise details will be advised by your new supplier.

Do I need to tell my existing supplier?

The official answer to this is Yes. However, in practice, the new transfer applications go through a process by the new Supplier which includes checking with the existing supplier if there are any objections to the change. This is usually sufficient to act as notice that a change is being requested and arranged.

Once you have applied to the new supplier, you should find the old suppliers are completely understanding but they may ask why you would like to move, so they have a reason on file. Domestic prices are usually fixed so there is very rarely any room for changes to advertised tariffs.

You should receive correspondence from the old supplier asking that you consider them again in the future, and you will also receive a welcome letter from the new supplier, once the transfer has been activated.

Generally speaking, the entire transfer process has been designed to operate as smoothly as possible and both Ofgem and Consumer Focus (previously Energywatch) keep an eye on the marketplace to ensure this happens.

SwitchWise.co.uk Website Security.

The application pages on the UKPower.co.uk calculator have been extensively audited by an external security consultant.

Tariffs Used in Databases.

In order to compare prices, enter the number of kilowatt hours that you use. If you do not have the kWh’s, then you can enter the amounts you pay monthly, quarterly or annually. When you do this, the calculator works out how many kWh’s you use – it uses the latest available tariffs to do this. It will then use the calculated number of kWh’s to work out what each supplier will charge for the next 12 months based on existing tariffs. The results page shows how the suppliers compare to each other for that number of kWh’s. 

Tariff Details – In pop up box for each supplier

The detailed tariff for each supplier is found by clicking on the “View tariff info” link on the RESULTS Page when you run a calculation. A window opens with all details and this can be printed if you like to keep a copy for your records.

Late Payment Penalty Charges

Some suppliers will charge extra penalty charges for late payments. These extra penalty charges are not included in these price comparisons, but they are noted in the tariff notes for each tariff where they apply.

– the calculations on this website assume that customers are taking advantage of the options available, and that no extra charges are included for late payments or payments by means which cause surcharges.

VAT

All prices used on this site include VAT at the prevailing rate.

Supplier Ratings

One factor to consider is the levels of supplier service and customer satisfaction. SwitchWise, Ofgem and Consumer Focus (previously Energywatch), are all keen to promote the needs for high standards of customer service. However, feedback suggests that all suppliers act with very high service standards.

Non cash incentives for signing up with new suppliers

Some suppliers offer non cash incentives for signing up. These are not included in these price comparisons because the value of these incentives varies and depends on the customer being able to use the incentives.

How can I find out who supplies the gas and electricity to my home?

GAS SUPPLY – Call the Transco Meter Helpline on 0870 608 1524. They will tell you the supplier and give you your MPRN number.

ELECTRICITY SUPPLY – Call your local electricity distribution company. You should ask for their Meter Point Administration Service (MPAS).

How can I find out what my meter numbers are?

Note: A new validation system has been installed so that, in most cases, your address and meter reference numbers are automatically
validated by using your postcode. If the validation system does not find your meter reference numbers, then the following information will help you locate them.

If you have previous bills – see the next FAQ after this one.

If you do not have previous bills, read on:

Electricity:

Where to get your “MPAN” or “Supply Number” if you do not have a bill.

If you do not have a previous bill, you can get this by contacting your regional electricity company (who may be different from your current supplier, but they are still responsible for “transporting” your electricity). If you call them and ask for the Metering Point Administration department, they will tell you what your Supply Number is. You will need to obtain the local suppliers telephone number either from the local telephone directory or from directory enquiries.

If you do not know who the local supplier is, you can contact National Grid on 01926 653 000 and ask who the local supplier is so you can find your MPAN Number. They will give you the local supplier telephone number to call. When you call that number, ask for the Full MPAN Number including the top row and bottom row numbers, but sometimes they only give the bottom row numbers (13 digits) which will be sufficient.

Gas:

Where to get your MPR meter Number if you do not have a previous bill?

If you do not have a bill and you require your M Number you can call the TRANSCO M Number Enquiries telephone number which is 0870 608 1524. They are very helpful and will provide your MPR
number when you give your address and postcode. The M Number is also called the MPR number.

What does the Electricity MPAN or Supply Number mean?

MPAN stands for Metering Point Administration Number. This number is located on your electricity bill (and not on the meter). It provides a unique identity reference number for the meter and provides other information as follows:

         
S Profile type01 Meter, timeswitch details.
123
DUoS Identifier456  
16
Distributor identifier
6789Unique Reference number 0123Unique Reference number 222Check Digit
       

How can I tell what Region my meter is in?

If you look at the grid above, you can see the first box on the second line is called “Distributor Identifier”. The numbers in this box identify the Region you are in as follows:

10 Eastern 17 Scottish Hydro
11 East Midlands 18 Scottish Power
12 London 19 Seeboard
13 Manweb 20 Southern
14 Midlands 21 Swalec
15 Northern 22 Sweb
16 Norweb 23 Yorkshire

Note that when your postcode is on the edge of a region, it is important to check that you are using the correct region for the comparison calculations as the prices vary from region to region and some postcode areas straddle regions.

Utility Warehouse – also known as Telecom Plus

Telecom Plus is a membership organisation which has very good prices for members.

For further information about joining Telecom Plus, and all the rates and benefits available on telephones, Mobile Phones,
Freephones as well as Gas and Electricity, click here.

Who operates PRIVATE GAS PIPELINES?

Private gas pipelines are operated by Independent Gas Transporters (IGT’s) and you can find details about these on the Ofgem website at www.ofgem.gov.uk under the Licensed Company Details tab.

It should be noted that daily or annual standing charges for gas supplied via IGT’s will be charged at higher prices than the standard tariffs available on Transco pipelines.

IMPORTANT NOTE. It should be noted that any additional charges levied by IGT’s are NOT included in the comparison results and should be excluded from the input data. IGT charges will apply regardless of which supplier is used.

Just moved in to a new property?

TO SEE WHICH SUPPLIERS MAY HAVE CHEAPER PRICES:

To use the calculators, you need an estimated cost of current usage and the name of the current suppliers. This can be difficult if you have not lived there before. Previous bills can help, otherwise you could use estimates. An example might be – a 3 bedroom semi-detached house with 3 adults could cost about £450 a year on gas and £450 a year on electricity. It depends on the size of the house, the type of equipment being used, and the number of people.

If you don’t know the current suppliers, you can use British Gas for gas, and the regional electricity supplier for electricity. By doing this, you will be able to get to the list of suppliers prices.

Once you have this, the SwitchWise.co.uk website will help you identify a cheaper supplier in your area. You just enter the region you are in, the current supplier, payment method, and annual consumption, and you get a full supplier listing showing comparisons. Tariff details can be seen by clicking on the cost figure for each supplier.

TO SWITCH:

To make an actual switch to another supplier, you may need the meter numbers from the last gas and electricity bills. These are the numbers on the last bills, and not the numbers from the meters. If you have moved into a new house, have you had any bills yet? You need to get a hold of the details, either by asking for a copy of the last gas and electricity bills, or by phoning up, and asking for the supplier and meter numbers.

You may be able to do the switch by entering your postcode and house details, followed by your name, and other information required for your household.

If you don’t have previous bills, and you need your reference numbers, the telephone numbers to call to get this information are:

GAS SUPPLY – Call the Transco Meter Helpline on 0870 608 1524. Tell them your address and they tell you the supplier and give you your MPRN number. Make a note of these.

ELECTRICITY SUPPLY – Call your local electricity distribution company. You should ask for their Meter Point Administration Service (MPAS).

Once you know the existing suppliers and you have the correct meter numbers, then you can go back to the SwitchWise.co.uk website to switch to the selected supplier.

 

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Moving House

When you move in to a new property, you need to contact the existing suppliers and get the account changed in to your own name. If you need to find out who the existing suppliers are see “Who Supplies?” above.

After this, you can start looking for a cheaper supplier by running your details through the SwitchWise.co.uk Price Comparison Service. Enter your postcode, then you can use the default suppliers and estimated usage amounts to see a list of all suppliers ranked in order of price savings. At this stage you can start a transfer and this process takes between 4 to 6 weeks to complete.

Converting Units to Kilowatt Hours

Electricity consumption is usually already stated in kilowatt-hours on previous bills, so the electricity kWh’s figure is ready to use.

Gas units need to be multiplied by 31.3 to convert from the units used according to the meter or bill, to kilowatt-hours. Then the gas kWh’s are ready to use. This is a rough estimate and the exact conversion details are below. (Or, for rough figures, multiply by 100, then divide by 3).

(To convert gas units to kilowatt hours: gas units used x imperial to metric conversion factor (2.83) x volume conversion factor (1.022640) x calorific value (39.7) divided by kilowatt hour conversion factor (3.6) = kilowatt hours used.) (This is the same as: gas units used x 31.3 = kilowatt hours used).

If you have a metric meter, you do not need to use the imperial to metric conversion factor (2.83). In this case, the rough estimate is to multiply the metric units by 11 instead of 31.3.

Note that exact precision is not necessary because the objective is to use an amount which is close to what you used last year, and which will be the basis for what you estimate to use for the next 12 months.

 

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