The government tells us that switching is the solution to not being able to afford our bills. Whilst you might save money from switching, this is not always the case, no matter what the price comparison site says. This is because some of the Big Six energy companies give out the Warm Home Discount which in 2014-2015 , worth £140 off your bills, for people who are on a low income and/or on benefits.
Pensioners on pension credit will automatically qualify for the Discount, but if you are on Disability Living Allowance or Job Seekers Allowance or on a low income you may qualify too. The rules for who can get this Discount are different with every Big Six supplier so you have to check. If you have been receiving the Discount with your current supplier but won’t qualify with your new supplier, it may well not be worth switching at all (unless you could make savings worth more than £140).
Two key pieces of advice:
1)Remember that price comparison sites don’t factor in Warm Homes Discount at all. So, before switching call the new company and see if you would qualify for the Warm Home Discount with them. All pensioners on pension credit will get the discount (£140 per year for 2014-2015) but under some energy companies, but not all, those on eg JSA, DLA etc can get this discount.
If you got the discount with your old provider don’t leave move to another provider without checking you will get it with them also.
2) Be careful about what time of year you switch
If you are entitled to receive the Warm Home Discount but not automatically (only those on Pension Credit receive it automatically) in 2014-2015 you must have been with your energy company from 21st July 2013-21st March 2014. If you have switched supplier during this time you will lose any right you had to the Warm Home Discount,
**If you could receive the discount, the safest time to switch is May, June and July.**