Switching Energy Providers: Steps to Take with a Feed-in Tariff
Originally posted on http://www.lowcarbonbuildings.org.uk/energy/12/2018/switching-energy-providers-steps-to-take-with-a-feed-in-tariff/1139/
Millions of Brits make a move to a different energy supplier each year, and that number is steadily on the rise. With greater transparency in pricing as well as additional options for consumers, the change to a new supplier can be a simple task. However, for those who have solar panels, the idea of making a switch may seem daunting. Questions arise as to what happens to feed-in tariffs from the current energy supplier, and how that contract changes should a new provider be selected.
The good news is that switching to save on energy costs does not have to impact your feed-in tariffs, nor does it have to be a complex move.
Understanding Feed-in Tariffs
The move toward more environmentally-conscious energy sources, including solar, wind, and photo voltaic power, has become an interest and desire for many households throughout the UK. Adding the technology to create these power sources gives homeowners a way to reduce their footprint while investing in energy generation, and potentially, saving costs. To encourage individuals to take advantage of the benefits of alternative energy sources, feed-in tariffs were introduced more than a decade ago.
Feed-in tariffs are, on the surface, simply a subsidy paid out by the majority of energy suppliers around the UK. Through the FiT programme, the generation of green electricity thanks to alternative energy sources, like solar panels, is paid for by selling excess production back to the grid. Whenever customers initially make a decision on which company to use as their energy provider and solar panel provider, that company is often the same one offering the feed-in tariffs. As additional energy is produced, customers receive payment from their supplier. An energy provider can change at any time, based on the cost savings reaped by the consumer, but the FiT contract does not have to shift in the process.
Making the Switch
When renewable energy sources like solar panels are in the mix, there is often a concern that changing the energy company means a change in the feed-in tariffs received by the customer. Fortunately, this is not the case. You have the option to move to a different energy supplier for any reason, be it a reduction in the costs of gas and electricity consumed or poor service. While your current supplier may also be the one paying your feed-in tariffs, a change does not alter your FiT programme contract. The provider paying your feed-in tariffs is required to continue to pay, even if you move to a new supplier.
By law, the major suppliers of energy have to pay feed-in tariffs, including British Gas, EDF Energy, ScottishPower, and SSE. A full list of suppliers and contact information for each paying feed-in tariffs can be found online. When you move to a different supplier for your gas and electricity needs, you may also change your contract for FiT payments. However, you are not obligated to, nor does it always make sense to do so. This is because the FiT programme rates are set by Ofgem – they are the same no matter where the payments originate.
If you decide to make a move to a different energy supplier, you will need to take the following steps:
- Find a recent energy bill and have your postcode ready
- Visit an energy comparison site and enter your postcode to find available suppliers
- Input details about your consumption, taken from your energy bill
- Review and compare your results
- Pick the provider that offers the most savings
- Confirm your change with your address and billing information
Once you’ve followed these simple steps, the new supplier will be in contact to verify you as a new customer. The supplier provides a new service date, and there is no interruption in service. For your feed-in tariffs, unless you change the provider, no changes take place. Your payments continue as per your agreement with the initial licensee.
The Need to Compare
A finance specialist from MoneyPug, an energy comparison site in the UK, explains that although many consumers think the process for switching energy companies is daunting, that is not the case. However, the fear of service interruption, or a change with feed-in tariffs stops customers from reviewing their options in the first place. Without comparing the pricing of gas and electricity providers, there is no way to no if the costs spent each month on energy is too high based on other suppliers’ rate. It is beneficial to check options periodically to ensure the energy company chosen makes the most financial sense for the customer.
Brits are making significant changes to the way they consume and produce energy, with the help of programmes like feed-in tariffs from the country’s largest energy suppliers. However, having solar panels or other renewable energy sources should not limit the possibilities for reducing costs on gas and electricity. Making a move to a different energy supplier can help you save, without the hassle of changing your FiT contract with the current provider.
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