Energy customers will be able to switch suppliers in three weeks under a shake-up planned by regulator Ofgem.
Its proposed new rules will see energy suppliers having to make the switching process faster and more reliable for customers (join our free Cheap Energy Club to make sure you're getting the best deal).
Ofgem has launched a consultation on its plans, which is open until 12 May.
The planned rules are due to come into force in August. They say:
- Customers will be able to switch tariff within three weeks after their cooling-off period has ended. At present providers have a three week target to switch consumers, but this isn't enforceable.
- Ofgem will be able to take enforcement action, which includes fining providers who don't complete switches within the three weeks. At present, consumers have to chase up their new supplier themselves if it fails to complete the switch with the three week target.
- Suppliers have to sort out their systems to prevent customers from being switched in error. Mistakes account for about 1% of all switches.
MoneySavingExpert.com's Cheap Energy Club manager Archna Luthra says: "This couldn't have come soon enough. Most energy suppliers are in dire need of getting their house in order when it comes to the switching process.
"Appallingly, we've seen some suppliers take as long as eight weeks to switch people over, which simply isn't good enough.
"It's no surprise though, when it isn't in firms' interest to lose their customers – which is why Ofgem must step in. Let's hope it has a fierce bite as well as bark on this issue."