You don't have to be back in the black to be able to switch energy tariff or supplier. Shopping around for a better deal on your gas or electricity and switching energy tariff or supplier can cut your utility bills by hundreds of pounds a year. It could help make it easier to repay what you owe.
Repaying a debt and switching
If you've been in debt to your supplier for less than 28 days you can still switch. Any owed amounts will be added to your final bill from your old supplier.
If you've been in debt to your supplier for over 28 days, you'll need to repay the debt first.
If it's your supplier's fault you're in debt, they can't stop you from switching.
If you're in debt and have a prepayment meter
As long as you owe less than £500 for gas and £500 for electricity, you can switch to a new supplier if you are paying off an energy debt through a prepayment meter.
You are entitled to do so through the 'Debt Assignment Protocol'. This would mean your new supplier takes on the debt and you repay them instead, based on the new terms of your agreement with them.
Prepayment tariffs are usually more expensive, so you may want to ask about the different options available to you, including if you can change to a standard meter. Most suppliers offer this for free, though some may charge. Find out more at Understand your energy meter.
Free advice about switching suppliers with an energy debt
The Citizens Advice consumer helpline can offer help and advice at any time if you’re having problems switching.
For more tips and contacts, see also Who to contact if it's difficult paying energy bills.
Shopping with confidence
Use the following guides for tips and tools on how to compare suppliers and gather the information you'll need:
- Citizens Advice guide: How to compare energy tariffs and deals (opens another website)
Get to grips with the questions to ask suppliers and how to use price comparison websites.
- Citizens Advice guide: Common energy tariffs explained (opens another website)
Explore the tariff types that may best suit you.
- Ofgem-accredited energy price comparison websites
Shop with confidence using an online comparison service we’ve accredited under the Ofgem Confidence Code.
- Energy Switch Guarantee - switching service commitments: Check if the new supplier you're considering has signed up to the Energy Switch Guarantee.
- Compare supplier performance on customer service
Take a look at Ofgem data to see who the best and worst performers are.