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Spend & Save

Energy switching: Reader’s experience shows it can be a nightmare


While Energy Secretary Ed Davey claims to have found the switching process a doddle, not everyone has. In fact one reader has given up on the whole idea after enduring three months of switching woe.

Philip Audaer went on to an energy comparison site back at the start of the year to see if he could save money. According to uSwitch, he would save an impressive £90 a month by moving from Southern Electric to EDF.

“So I completed the online switching details and waited,” he reports. “The EDF contract came through speedily enough at the end of January, with the promise that they would contact Southern Electric to arrange the hand-over. And that’s where it started to unravel.

Problems arose apparently because Philip has two meters, a not particularly uncommon occurrence. The new supplier said it couldn’t process his application to switch because one of the meters wasn’t registered on the network. His existing supplier pointed out that it wouldn’t have been able to charge for energy without both meters working.

“And so the shuttle diplomacy began,” Philip recalls. “I’d receive the standard letter from EDF saying ‘there’s a problem’, followed by one from Southern Electric saying ‘no there isn’t’. I finally managed to prise out of EDF that because I had two meters any switch had to be dealt with by its Complex Metering Department, which promised to call me to resolve the issues.”

After waiting seven weeks for a call he gave up. “EDF gave up as well, simply sending an email saying the contract was voided with no explanation,” Philip states.

What has he learned? “There are areas of the UK where the apparent age of the meter means that switches can be problematic. So it may be a good idea to ask your current supplier to change the meters. That might in turn reduce costs, as more modern meters may be more accurate. And that might save the need to switch!”