First Utility promises to cut switching time

Government hopes to force gas and electricity firms to reduce switching time to just 24 hours

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Independent energy company First Utility has promised to cut switching time in half from next week. The company has been pushing for faster switching so that consumers don’t have to wait weeks to benefit from better deals.

From 10 November it will cut the time it takes to switch from five weeks to two and a half. Other suppliers have until the end of the year to cut their switching times.

Ian McCaig, First Utility’s chief, said: “By making it easier to switch, more people will seek out the best deals and help reduce their bills.”

First Utility’s ‘Fix the Switch’ campaign, launched in September last year, called on the industry to aim for 24-hour switching and was supported by Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and Ofgem.

The Government now hopes eventually to force gas and electricity firms to reducing switching time to just 24 hours.

Ed Davey said: “I wanted to make it faster and easier for people to switch so they can save money on their energy bills. My long term ambition is still to get to 24-hour switching, but halving switching times means we are moving in the right direction, and people can start saving sooner.”

The quicker switch process includes a statutory 14 calendar day cooling-off period – which is set by EU law.

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch, said: “Faster, easier switching will encourage consumers to go energy shopping and get themselves a better deal. Now is the time to take control of our energy bills by using less, wasting less and paying less, so keeping warm this winter will be more affordable.”

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