MSE News: Energy switching times to be cut in half

Energy customers will be able to switch providers in two and a half weeks - half the time it currently takes – by the end of the year, the Government said today.
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Energy switching times to be cut in half

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  • MothballsWallet
    MothballsWallet Posts: 15,852 Forumite
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    About time. Excluding the cooling off period, the actual switch process can take up to 6 weeks and all because 2 companies have to agree a kind of handover date and sort out getting final readings to close & bill one set of accounts and set up a new set.

    If they were agreeing a money handover date (to say pay a bill), I'm sure it would happen a lot faster than that ;)
  • spiro
    spiro Posts: 6,403 Forumite
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    About time. Excluding the cooling off period, the actual switch process can take up to 6 weeks and all because 2 companies have to agree a kind of handover date and sort out getting final readings to close & bill one set of accounts and set up a new set.

    If they were agreeing a money handover date (to say pay a bill), I'm sure it would happen a lot faster than that ;)
    The 2 suppliers don't agree a switching date, the new supplier tells the central system the date they are taking over the MPxN which then advises the old supplier. Change of Suppier meter readings are not agreed until after the switching date. One of the big changes that has happened as part of this is to allow the gaining supplier to start registering the customer during the cooling off period which was not allowed before.
    IT Consultant in the utilities industry specialising in the retail electricity market.

    4 Credit Card and 1 Loan PPI claims settled for £26k, 1 rejected (Opus).
  • silverwhistle
    silverwhistle Posts: 3,791 Forumite
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    Has anyone told nPower?
  • JJ_Egan
    JJ_Egan Posts: 20,281 Forumite
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    As its been posted energy switch to take 3 weeks then 50% means one and a half weeks .
  • brewerdave
    brewerdave Posts: 8,507 Forumite
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    Just because you get a switch completed quicker doesn't mean that the previous supplier will get the final bills out any faster - readings will still have to go thru "validation" loop.
  • Gratis
    Gratis Posts: 478 Forumite

    Personally, I regard six weeks or so as a perfectly acceptable period in which to perform an energy switch. It allows for two cooling off periods – one with the switching site and one with the new supplier – and I would far rather the thing be done competently and correctly than that it be rushed through and screwed-up.

    As with many things, the time and hassle spent in then sorting that out far outweighs the time and no hassle spent in getting it right the first time.
    Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance
    and conscientious stupidity.
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jnr.
  • wakeupalarm
    wakeupalarm Posts: 1,102 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary
    Gratis wrote: »
    Personally, I regard six weeks or so as a perfectly acceptable period in which to perform an energy switch.

    And I consider next day switching as perfectly acceptable. Any screw ups are down to the energy companies to sort out at their own time and cost. And any cooling off period can still apply even if switched, they can just cancel the switch and re-bill.

    If banks can switch accounts including all direct debits, standing orders etc, and insurance companies can take over policies instantly I don't see the need for 6-7 weeks for energy companies to get their fingers out.
  • MorbidX
    MorbidX Posts: 33 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    And I consider next day switching as perfectly acceptable. Any screw ups are down to the energy companies to sort out at their own time and cost. And any cooling off period can still apply even if switched, they can just cancel the switch and re-bill.

    If banks can switch accounts including all direct debits, standing orders etc, and insurance companies can take over policies instantly I don't see the need for 6-7 weeks for energy companies to get their fingers out.

    I work for one of the big Six in the "Change of Supply" section so to speak. electricity can be put through ona fast track registration which means you can be given a start date with a new supplier within 7 days. By regulation though the old supplier has the right to object to the transfer eg contract or debt and this window is 10 days from the point of notification of intent to switch. (Fast Track registrations can cause some issues between suppliers)

    The standard registration is for around 28 days as set out by industry guidelines.

    For Gas supplies the registration is a set 21 day process and during this time the 10 day objection window will occur as above.

    It will never be quicker than the above without massive process and regulatory reforms in the industry which has to be brought across all suppliers which is a massive undertaking. As much as some of you wont believe this, a lot of the people working the change of supplies actually yearn for it to be quicker.

    Changing supplies is a very complex process behind the scenes and it doesn't help that the time frames for the transfers of information between suppliers are still based on paper/fax time frames.

    Without sounding like I'm passing the buck a bit the best thing average Joe can do to help the suppliers transfer your energy supply quickly and accurately is for YOU to take a meter reading and note the meter serial number and ring your NEW supplier with these details for the handover date.

    If you give the new supplier a meter reading within 8 days of the supply starting with them its relayed to the old supplier for them to use for your final bill and as you took the read we know its going to be accurate.

    If you dont take a reading and let them estimate then the systems will wait until start date + 18 days then estimate THEN send the reading over.

    So by not providing a reading you're already screwing yourself regarding the billing based on estimates and you're screwing yourself on time too.

    If anyone has any questions about the process or wants me to go into any detail let me know, if its for domestic or business i'm well furnished with the lot
  • ashleyriot
    ashleyriot Posts: 89 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker Debt-free and Proud!
    MorbidX wrote: »

    As above.

    Thank you very much for your words - it's interesting to read it from an internal / supplier perspective.
  • MorbidX
    MorbidX Posts: 33 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    ashleyriot wrote: »
    Thank you very much for your words - it's interesting to read it from an internal / supplier perspective.


    Your welcome. It's an interesting situation/process which is alot more complex than the general public realise.

    Often people can be too quick to slate the energy companies but from my experience if customers are willing to do a few simple things and work with the energy supplier when they have a query.... it makes things a lot lot smoother and easier.

    Often people and business' are too keen to get it setup then leave it, not provide any readings or concern themselves with their energy use-age then they are surprised about estimated bills/ high estimates/bills and incorrect DD amounts.

    Until all supplies are hooked up with compatible and compliant smart meters people need to take ownership of their useage and meters.

    If they do this then everyone will be happy
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