How long does it take to switch energy providers?

It’s a lot simpler to change electricity and gas companies than a lot of people might think. With account transfer times now shorter than ever, it’s never been easier for bill-payers to make the switch. In fact, it’s as simple as comparing your options and visiting your preferred energy retailer’s website to sign up – which you can do a little further below! Plus, the retailer you’re looking to switch to will usually take care of the rest. But, how long should you be expected to wait for this change-over?

In this article, Canstar Blue explains how long it takes to change energy companies, and what you should be on the look-out for if you’re going to switch energy providers.

Switching energy retailers: How long does it take?

Switch Energy Provider

While previously, it could have taken up to 90 days for an account to be transferred when switching providers, the wait time now is as little as 48 hours. This is thanks to new switching rules, which came off the bat of an inquiry by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Energy retailers now have up to two business days to finalise an existing customers’ account and transfer their details to their new provider. Previously for households with a traditional meter, this task required retailers to carry out a final meter read, which is why the process took so long. Even for those with a smart meter, it could still take around a month. Now, however, bill-payers, regardless of their meter type, are able to switch using an estimated bill as opposed to waiting for a final bill after a meter read was carried out.

Tips for switching providers:

  • Ask your provider for an early meter reading, in order to close the account sooner. This however, may incur additional fees.
  • Double-check that any deals and incentives provided on your new plan don’t end or expire before your account has been fully settled with the previous provider. Or, ask whether your offer will be honoured until your account switches over.
  • If you are looking to change your gas plans too, it might be worth enquiring about these at the same time, to avoid changing on different dates.
  • Look over your estimated bill and ensure there are no inaccuracies. If it appears that you have been charged for a higher amount than normal, you should be able to ask your old provider to re-calculate your final bill. If it turns out that you were over-charged, your old provider should reimburse you.

It’s important to note that changing providers, won’t leave you without power. Customers, even those in the process of switching, will still have access to electricity from the grid.

Compare Electricity Providers

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 3900kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4600kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the SA Power network in Adelaide but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

What if I don’t want to use an estimated bill to switch?

If you don’t want to use an estimated bill to switch energy providers, there are a couple of other ways you could go about it. However, it’s important to note that some of these processes may end up taking substantially longer than just using an estimated bill. Other ways you can close your existing energy account and switch energy providers include;

  • Waiting for a final meter reading
  • Ordering a special meter read
  • Submitting your own meter reading

How do I find out when my next meter reading will be?

You can find the date of your next meter reading on your most recent electricity or gas bill. Most bills include a section on the last page that provides a detailed breakdown of the charges. This part should also detail your next meter reading date and when you can expect your next bill.

What is a special meter read?

What is a special meter read?

If you have an analogue meter then you might be able to organise a special meter read with your retailer. For a fee, a technician from your retailer can attend your property outside the normal billing cycle to complete the final meter read. Keep in mind though, that organising a special meter read may make the switching process take longer than 48 hours.

How do I submit my own meter read?

Energy customers are allowed to submit their own meter reads to their retailer for billing in certain circumstances. These circumstances have now been extended to include switching providers. Depending on the type of electricity meter you have, there will be a different way to read the data shown. But, once the data has been noted, bill-payers can send this information along to their old provider. If you have used a bill estimate to close your existing account and think there may be an inaccuracy, you can also submit your own meter reading to your old provider to see if you have been over charged. If you do decide to submit your own meter reading however, ensure you do so safely and don’t touch random parts of the meter.

When is the best time to switch energy providers?

Best time to switch energy providers

Thanks to the new switching rules, it appears anytime is a good time to switch energy providers. With it only taking up to two business days to transfer an account now, the only thing to really be on the look out for is a good energy switching deal or promotion.

What if I’m moving house?

Moving house is a good excuse to switch retailers. To do this, you will need to contact your old retailer and give them at least three days’ notice that you want to end your contract. The company will send someone to your property to complete a final meter read, which may incur a special meter read fee if the reading is off-cycle. You will then receive your final bill for that property. You will commence a new billing cycle once you sign up to another retailer at the new house.

Keep in mind, that switching to a new energy company could require a credit check.

You can check your credit score for free here 

Which energy retailer should I sign up to?

Now that you know a little bit more about switching retailers and how long it takes, why not take the time to shop around for a better deal that could save you money. Check out what’s on offer from some of Australia’s leading energy companies using Canstar Blue’s comparison tool and customer satisfaction star ratings via the link below.

Compare Electricity Providers

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