MSE launches energy market game-changer: The UK's first auto compare-and-switch service
New tool picks your personalised top deal from the whole of the market, and switches you every year, saving you £100s
The UK's biggest consumer website, MoneySavingExpert.com, is this week rolling out its MSE Autoswitch – the first ever energy auto compare-and-switch tool. This is the latest development for the site's free Cheap Energy Club, which already has 4.5 million members.
MSE Autoswitch is designed to shake up the entire energy market, making sure suppliers will no longer be able to bank on people forgetting to switch once cheap deals end. While autoswitching itself isn't new, those smaller, existing services tend to switch everyone to the same provider at the same time – a bulk move to tariffs that are rarely close to being the best or cheapest in themarket, and are chosen from a limited panel of providers (or they charge a fee).
MSE's new tool works entirely differently. Instead of bulk-switching those signed up, it effectively automates, speeds up andsimplifies the individual comparison process most people should be doing for themselves.
You tell it your energy preferences, the 'Pick Me A Tariff' tool selects your top deal based on those, and then each anniversary it notifies you of the new top tariff fitting those preferences, and lets you switch to it with just one click.
Many people find picking a winner difficult – it even puts some off switching. MSE Autoswitch is the first service in the UK to solve this problem. Using your preferences, it narrows down a universe of tariffs to your personalised top deals. You can try it at MSE's Cheap Energy Club before it's emailed to MSE’s 7 million+ active weekly email subscribers on Wednesday.
Here's how it works:
- Step 1: Tell it about your energy bills. Tell it your current energy provider, usage, where you live, how you pay and whether it is dual-fuel or electricity-only.
- Step 2: Pick your preferences. You are given 21 preference points that you simply allocate across six different categories, giving the things that are most important to you the most points. The categories are price, customer service, green energy, fixed rate, a well-known supplier, no early exit fees.
- Step 3: It then picks your top tariff from the whole of the market. MSE then takes your preferences and uses an algorithm to select your winner from the whole of the market – including providers it doesn't work with or can't switch you to. It alsoshows you the next two closest matches based on your preferences.
If the top pick is with one of the few suppliers MSE can't switch you to, it will still show as the top deal – all it means is MSE won't be able to autoswitch you next year (unless you rejoin then).
- Step 4: On the anniversary of your switch, it emails you with your next tariff. When it's time to switch again (either after a year, or later if you're on a longer fix), MSE will contact you with the new top deal based on your preferences. All you have to do is click to confirm you're happy and your details haven't changed, and then you're switched to the new provider.
- MSE reduces your bill further with £25 cashback if you don't go direct. The only autoswitch (there are no other auto compare-and-switch) services that look across the whole of the market charge a fee. MSE is free to use, and on top of that, if you switch via the tool and MSE gets paid (as other sites do), you get roughly half back as cashback – £25 for dual-fuel switches and £12.50 for single-fuel.
So you get the same tariff, as if you switched directly with the supplier, and the cashback on top making it cheaper. The rest of the fee pays for the tool, team, and research and operating resources to keep it running – and hopefully makes a profit too. Win-win.
Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, said: "For years on the telly, radio and in print, I've yelled, cajoled, ranted and tried to seduce the 11 million people sitting on the big six energy providers' standard tariffs to ditch, switch and save, to stop them wasting £100s a year. Yet many languish with them out of fear and confusion.
"At my TV roadshows, a constant refrain when I show people how to switch energy is 'can't you just do it for me?' So years ago, I designed this auto compare-and-switch system, and while it's been a long time coming to fruition, I'm so excited we've now built such a smooth, smart tool to make switching easy.
"The big problem people have isn't doing a comparison, it's picking a winner. Many have been burned in the past by switching to cheap tiddler firms, with dire service, and vow to never do it again.
"That's why this isn't just about autoswitching people to a generic, cheap-ish deal, as others have tried. It's about autoswitching them to their personal top pick, and by doing it from the whole of the market, it means the results will likely be far cheaper too.
"My hope is this causes an energy revolution. Most energy firms launch cheap prices for a year, based on the idea that people will stick with them for at least another year once they've moved on to the higher price. Our system defeats that model, and if millions of people take that up, energy firms may have to be forced to change their pricing structures. So in future, we will aim to ask providers to offer special cheaper 'retention tariffs' to retain their own customers."
Autoswitch isn't for everyone. It's a choice.
Autoswitch is a fantastic tool if you just want to stay on a cheap energy tariff, with no hassle and not really think about it. Yet it's not right for everyone, so you will still be able to choose to take advantage of other MSE energy whole-of-market comparison options.
- DIY comparison. Best if you know what you're doing, are the type of person who is always on top of energy deals, and may want to switch more than once a year.
- Pick Me A Tariff. Best if you want MSE to help pick a winner based on your preferences, but don't want to be autoswitched. All you have to do is come back when it's time to switch again.
Attached is an example of top tariff results for different personas, each with different energy preferences. Tariff selection is correct as of 18 September 2020. Please feel free to use this for articles, credited to MoneySavingExpert.com.
Notes to editors
- MSE's customer service rating is based on Citizens Advice data, which measures complaints, billing and switching performance, and a bespoke YouGov poll asking 14,000 people about their experiences. This poll is repeated three times a year. More information about this and other scoring methods can be found in the MSE Autoswitch FAQs.
- Currently, MSE Autoswitch is not available for prepay energy customers – but these customers can still use Pick Me A Tariff and the DIY comparison. It's also not available if you've an Economy 10, Economy 9, Economy 20:20 or similar time-of-use meter.