How do I cancel an energy bill?
Learn how to switch or cancel your supply, while avoiding early-exit fees.
Whether you’re moving, dissatisfied with your service, or going to live in the woods, you’ll need to know how to cancel your account with your energy supplier.
Fixed tariffs and exit fees
Customers who want to leave their energy supplier will usually need to pay early-exit fees if they are on a fixed-length contract with their energy supplier that has not ended. Fixed-length deals freeze the unit rate you pay for your energy for a set period of time, usually between 1 and 3 years.
Early-exit fees cover the costs of sending someone out to check your meter outside of their typical routine. These fees are not charged by your energy retailer, but by the distributor of your electricity. The fees are then passed on to your retailer who then charges you.
If you’re lucky, you may be able to leave a fixed deal without having to pay early-exit fees, as some suppliers offer fixed deals without any early-exit penalties.
How much are the early-exit fees?
Early-exit fees will vary from around £25 to £75 per fuel, depending on your supplier. If you wish to leave a fixed deal early and you’re on a dual fuel tariff, then you’ll have to pay one fee to cover the cost of leaving your electricity supply and another fee for gas. This can add up, so always be aware of the cost of any early-exit penalties before signing up to another fixed-term energy tariff.
If you’re on a standard or “default” tariff and you wish to switch supplier, then you won’t have to pay any early-exit fees. Default tariffs operate on a rolling-monthly basis and you’re not locked into a lengthy contract.
Can I avoid early-exit fees?
Yes, it is possible to avoid having to pay any early-exit fees if you wish to switch suppliers or simply stop your energy supply altogether. The first way to do this is to be on a standard or “default” tariff, where you can switch away at any time. However, this also means that the unit rate you pay can go up or down over time.
The other way to avoid having to pay early-exit fees is to sign up to a fixed-term tariff that won’t charge you any penalty fees for leaving early. Historically, energy suppliers would always charge early-exit fees for customers wishing to leave a fixed-term supply deal early. However, these financial penalties are increasingly being ditched in order to attract new customers.
Another way out of a fixed-term deal is to leave your supplier within 49 calendar days before the end of your fixed term. The energy market regulator Ofgem calls this period of time the “switching window”. Ofgem rules state that you must be allowed to switch during this window without having to pay any early-exit fees. You can notify your supplier that you wish to leave at any time during your fixed term, but to avoid any exit fees your switch away will need to occur within that 49-day period.
If you have been charged, it’s worth raising this issue with your supplier. If the firm refuses to waive these fees and you believe they have acted unfairly, you can escalate your complaint to Ombudsman Services, a dispute resolution body recognised by large parts of the energy industry.
How do I cancel my contract?
If you are switching suppliers then you don’t need to do an awful lot. You can just leave it up to your new energy supplier to inform your current supplier that you are leaving. The new supplier will also take care of the switchover, a process which usually takes a couple of weeks to complete.
If you’ve moving home and wish to end your supply, you’ll need to inform your current supplier that you’ll be moving out. It will usually ask you to submit a closing meter reading, before sending you a final bill. You can inform the energy supplier by phone, by logging in to your online supply account, or via email.
The bottom line
It should be relatively simple to either switch away from your supplier or to stop your energy supply altogether. Your supplier should sign-post how to leave on its website or on the smartphone app you use to manage your account.
If you follow the processes outlined above, you should be able to leave a fixed-term tariff deal without having to pay any exit fees. It’s also worth bearing in mind that some fixed-term supply deals won’t charge you any early-exit fees at all.
While the process for leaving shouldn’t be too complicated, energy suppliers can sometimes drag their feet or take a long time to deal with your request. If you run into problems, the good news is that there is usually a complaints process you can use to resolve these. Your last resort is Ombudsman Services or Ofgem.
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