Automatic energy switching - or auto switching for short – is a simple and easy way to switch energy suppliers and save money on your bills.
Currently, most households in the UK are on their supplier's Standard Variable Tariff (SVT), meaning that what they pay for their gas and electricity is dictated by the Energy Price Cap.
But as wholesale energy prices continue to fall, fixed price tariffs are beginning to make their way back into the market. This is where Auto-Switching can help you save.
Why use automatic energy switching?
Under normal circumstances, the cheapest energy deals on the market will usually be fixed, and most commonly for a period of 12-months.
Something many households that are on a fixed-deal don’t realise is that once your deal ends, you will rollover on to your supplier's Standard Variable Tariff (SVT), resulting in you paying a lot more for your energy.
This process of rolling customers onto a more expensive tariff once a fixed deal ends is often referred to as the loyalty penalty, and is commonly used by energy suppliers to boost company profits.
At Switchcraft, we are strictly opposed to the loyalty penalty, firmly believing that customers should be awarded and not punished for staying with the same supplier.
Unfortunately, due to the ongoing energy crisis, almost all households in the UK are currently on the SVT, meaning the price they pay for their energy is dictated by the Energy Price Cap. The Cap changes every three months, with the latest change having taken effect on October 1 2023, and the next due in January 2024.
However, it’s important to remember that the Cap does not put a limit on how much you pay for your energy – it only limits the unit rates of your gas and electricity and daily standing charge.
How does Auto-Switching with Switchcraft work?
To start auto-switching, you’ll first be asked to provide some basic details. With Switchcraft, it’s a matter of entering your postcode and selecting your address from the drop-down menu.
From there, you’ll be asked to confirm details we have regarding your energy usage and current supplier. If you find that any of the information we have stored is incorrect, you can amend it before proceeding.
Once the information about your supplier and usage is confirmed, our auto-switching technology will use certain algorithms to narrow down and find a deal that matches your usage and meter type, comparing it against your existing deal and supplier.
If we've found a deal that can save you more than £50 and you are free to switch without incurring any exit fees, we will begin the process of switching you to this deal. Be aware, however, that while this is the criteria used by Switchcraft to initiate the auto-switching process, different auto-switching services will have different criteria for how and when they will initiate a switch.
Can I auto switch energy without having to do anything?
For the most part, yes. As long as your address and bank details we have stored have not changed, we will be able to switch you without you needing to take any action.
This also means that you do not need to contact either your new or old supplier,. nor will you experience a break in accessing your existing supply while the switch is taking place.
However, even if you have a smart meter, - which usually submits readings to your supplier automatically - when switching to a new supplier, you will still need to submit the first meter reading manually. This is because it takes about 14 days to transfer your meter details to your new supplier's system, and a few days additional days to fully onboard you with your new supplier to the point where they can receive readings automatically from your smart meter.
It's a good idea to take a photo of your current meter when you apply to switch so that your new supplier can validate your readings. This should be done for all meters, not just smart ones.
Switching suppliers with a first-generation smart meter
If you still have a first-generation smart meter (SMETS1) and switch suppliers, you will find your smart meter turns 'dumb'. This means your meter will have permanently lose the ability to send automatic meter readings to your new supplier, and you will need to submit meter readings manually.
How does auto switching my energy with Switchcraft work?
Auto switching means no more trawling through confusing comparison sites and multiple tabs trying to work out what the best energy deals are.
Instead, you choose your first deal with us and we switch energy suppliers for you. Then, when that deal comes to an end (and before the supplier moves you onto their Standard Variable Tariff), our system finds and selects another deal for you and switches you to it automatically, but only when it will save you more than £50 and only when you can switch without incurring any exit fees (i.e., within the last 49 days of your existing contract).
We also re-check your usage every year to ensure that our recommendations remain accurate.
What’s the difference between free and paid auto switching?
Free auto switching services such as Switchcraft, receive a commission from energy suppliers so that they can continue to offer their services for free. And, even though
This is similar to how traditional price comparison websites (eg. Money Supermarket or Uswitch) make their money. Suppliers are always listed in strict price order so that there can’t be any bias due to different commission levels.
On the other hand, paid-for automatic energy switching services charge an annual fee to its customers in order to cover the costs of running and maintaining the service.
How do auto switchers recommend energy deals?
Automatic energy switchers calculate your price based on your postcode, meter details, and energy usage. Deals are always recommended in price order (cheapest first) respecting any preferences that you may have given. For example, if you have chosen to only switch between green suppliers you will be shown the cheapest green tariff that the service has available.
Can I trust auto switching to do the right thing for me?
Your recommended tariff will always be the cheapest tariff the auto switcher has available for your usage, which also meets any preferences you set when signing up. If you have any special requirements (eg. you need a supplier that supports the warm home discount) make sure that your auto switching service is aware of them.
It’s also important to remember that you’re still in control. You’ll be sent the details of a switch 14 days in advance, so if you don’t like the recommended supplier you can always ask for a second recommendation.
What other energy auto switching services are there?
Although there used to be a number of energy auto switching services, most have now closed. Aside from Switchcraft, Switchd is the only other automated switching service that is currently active.
Switchd offers both free and paid auto switches, while Switchcraft is entirely free.
Is Switchcraft a whole of market auto switcher?
No. Switchcraft is not a whole of market auto switcher, as we only receive a commission from the suppliers we work with. However, our service is entirely impartial and presents switching options in price order only to ensure you're getting the best possible deal to suit your circumstances.
How is automatic energy switching different to regular price comparison services?
Unlike traditional price comparison services where you will need to manually search and compare prices each time, an auto switching service will continually operate in the background, informing you each time you can save and without tedious forms and questions.
Although they now no longer exist, switching services such as Auto Sergei and The Cheap Energy Club used to run regular price comparisons on your behalf, however you had to initiate the switch yourself each year.
With auto switching the switch is started for you.
Is auto switching important?
Yes. Although switching opportunities have been almost non-existent since the beginning of the UK energy crisis in Autumn 2021, an analysis of figures from industry regulator Ofgem revealed that under normal circumstances, failing to switch costs a typical household £1,050.
This is because once a fixed-deal ends, customers will be rolled onto their existing supplier's SVT, which is generally much more expensive. This is why auto switching is important because, as soon as your existing energy deal ends, you will be moved to the next cheapest deal available.
Without auto switching, finding the best deal can take valuable time and know-how, often meaning households don't end up switching, even though they could stand to save tens or even hundreds of pounds.
What are the benefits of auto switching
Auto siwtching is a great way to save money by doing very little. Once you've signed up, price comparisons and switching is handled by Switchcraft.
And, although switches are handled on your behalf, you're still in control. should you ever decide you don't want to enable auto-switching, you can cancel any time and for any reason.
Is energy auto switching right for me?
As our lifestyles becoming increasingly busy, it is easy to fall behind on household admin, including staying on top of our energy bills and when we ought to be switching to a new energy supplier.
Automatic energy switching takes out the hard work of having to remember when your deal is due for renewal.
As long as your banking and property details are up-to-date, you will be switched automatically whenever you're next able to save and without having to worry about whether you're overpaying on your energy bills.
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