MSE News

New automatic energy switching service launches

A new automatic energy switching service that promises to move you whenever a cheaper deal comes along launches today.

Weflip, from price comparison firm Gocompare, is a website that will continually search to identify a cheaper energy tariff – which it will then move you to.

Auto-switching uses computer algorithms to track and identify potential savings based on your energy usage, meter type and current tariff.

You'll need to enter your details – such as your address and how much energy you consume – and it will return a quote from the 67 suppliers it represents.

If you choose to complete an initial switch through it, Weflip will then continually monitor the tariffs it covers to find a cheaper deal. If it identifies a minimum £50/year saving – after paying any exit fees to leave your current tariff, if applicable – it will automatically initiate a switch and notify you via email.

You then have 14 days to let it know if you don't want to switch, otherwise Weflip will notify the new provider which will then move over your supply.  

To compare all deals on the market and receive cashback for switching, use our free Cheap Energy Club.

Martin: "We're starting to move into the next phase of energy switching"

Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, said: "It's early days but there's no doubt we're starting to move into the next phase of energy switching. Indeed, I've been looking and lobbying regulators about auto-switching for a couple of years and we hope MoneySavingExpert.com will be joining with its own at some point soon.  

"What many people want when it comes to energy is to simply and easily know they are on a long-term cheap price. And, as the energy companies themselves seem to be unable to guarantee it, auto-switching is one route forward.

"The big question here, though, is how product providers will act. Currently, they offer cheap deals for a year or so, predicated on the fact that most people will then stay another year or so afterwards on a higher rate. With auto-switching this won't happen, so this is a move that could see a change in pricing right across the market.

"As to whether or not you should do it, well, at the moment, there's a choice. Auto-switching isn't whole of market, so you're not necessarily getting the best tariff. And of course, some comparison sites – including Cheap Energy Club – give you cashback when you switch which you won't get with auto-switching, too.

"But if you are looking for convenience, and want to be an early adopter of this technology, it's certainly not a bad thing to give it a go and see how it works."

What it doesn't do

There are some potential drawbacks, namely that Weflip doesn't search all deals available on the market and only offers fixed tariffs – so excludes the top four cheapest tariffs on the market, which are variables.

You can't currently set any additional preferences – such as only switching to providers with good customer service or to change this £50/year minimum saving figure – though Gocompare has said it will look into this as the service develops. 

It bases any savings on your projected costs, rather than the rates you actually pay, so it could actually switch you from a cheaper fix to a more expensive deal.

This new service operates in a similar way to existing sites such as Flipper, Lookaftermybills and Labrador, but is the first to come from a large, well-established brand.

What does Gocompare say?

Gocompare Group chief executive Matthew Crummack said: "This hugely powerful tool will track energy deals daily, but we anticipate customers will be switched once or twice a year, when a significant (at least £50) saving can be made.

"With Weflip we are creating something that will appeal to the occasional switcher who ultimately ends up back on an SVT, and to those who have never switched. A significant barrier to switching is the hassle – perceived and real – that people associate with the process, along with their disinterest in the energy market more generally.

"Weflip aims to remove that hassle by allowing households to simply outsource this burdensome chore, saving everyone precious time and money year after year."