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Gas & Electricity guide

Switching energy supplier - frequently asked questions

Switching energy supplier - frequently asked questions

One of the simplest ways to save some cash is to regularly change energy supplier. So we’re going to take a look at some of the most common questions we get asked about the process. 

We're all about pointing you in the right direction towards saving money and one of the best ways to save on your household bills is to switch gas and electricity supplier regularly.

However many are daunted by the process. So we want to lift the veil and let you know just how easy it is for you to switch and save.

The way the industry works

Most of Ireland’s energy suppliers put the majority of their energy (excuse the pun) into hooking up new customers by giving them the cheapest deals. 

But those discounts usually expire after 12 months. And what happens then? You’re bumped on to the supplier’s “standard prices”, which basically means their top price, with no discount applied.

And this is what you want to avoid.

Once you get moved onto a standard rate with your supplier, you should immediately do one of two things:

  1. Call your supplier and ask them to extend your discount for another year and hope they will, or

  2. Switch to a new supplier - whichever one is offering the best discount to new customers

It may seem like a pain to do this every year, but a short phone call or visit to bonkers.ie and you might be able to save yourself some serious cash.

1. Will I be penalised if I switch energy supplier?

Most energy contracts last one year. After this you’re free to switch to a new supplier without penalty. 

If you switch before your contract is up, there’ll usually be an early exit fee of €50 for single fuel contracts or €100 for dual fuel. 

However in some cases, depending on the deal you originally signed up for, the fee may be higher.  

2. Do I need to give my supplier notice that I'm leaving?

No. As long as you're out of contract you don't need to give your existing supplier any advance notice that you want to switch. In fact you don't need to contact them or deal with them at all during the switchover process. We'll do all of that for you!

3. What do I need to switch energy supplier?

 You need three main pieces of information to switch energy supplier:

  1. If you’re switching electricity you’ll need your MPRN (meter point reference number) - this is an 11-digit number found on your electricity bill and helps the energy suppliers identify your property. If you’re switching gas you’ll need your GPRN (gas point reference number) - a seven-digit number found on your gas bill.

  2. A recent meter reading - if you need a meter key just let us know and we'll send one out to you.

  3. You also need to know roughly how much energy you use in a year either in kWh or in euro.

You can get a better estimate of your expected savings if you also know the name of the current plan that you're on so it’s useful to have this to hand when switching as well. You can find this on a recent bill or by contacting your supplier. 

4. How do I switch gas and electricity supplier?

With your MPRN, GPRN and recent meter reading to hand, use our energy price comparison calculator and follow the simple steps below. It’ll take you no more than a couple of minutes to switch.

  1. Tell us the name of your existing price plan. You can find this on a recent bill or by contacting your existing supplier. 

  2. Give us a good estimate of how much energy you use in a year, either in euro or kWh. This helps us give you the most accurate results.

  3. You’ll then be presented with a list of all of the deals available to you, presented in order of total price. And by total price, we mean total price - including all of the additional fees and taxes that get tagged on to energy bills.

  4. Choose your new energy provider.

  5. Enter a few personal and banking details, along with a recent meter reading...and that’s it.

    5. Is it easy to switch energy supplier?

    Yes. It only takes a few minutes to switch and it can all be done online on bonkers.ie without the need for any phone calls or paperwork. 

    However if you’d prefer to speak to someone over the phone you can call our Dublin-based customer service team on 01 256 0540.

    6. What happens after I switch supplier?

    Around two to three weeks after you’ve switched, your old supplier will send you out a closing bill, which will be based on the meter reading you provided at the time of the switch. Around this time your new supplier will also write out to you to welcome you and give you all the information you need e.g. your account number, contact details etc. 

    You’ll need to pay the closing bill from your old supplier by the due date. Then all of your future bills will come from your new supplier. 

    7. Is there a risk I could get cut off during the switch process?

    No. Your energy supply won’t be affected in any way during the switchover process. Around 28,000 electricity customers and 10,000 gas customers switch every month so energy suppliers do this type of thing every day.

    8. When will I hear from my new supplier?

    You should hear from your new supplier by letter around three weeks after you’ve switched on bonkers.ie, if not sooner.

    9. Can I change my energy supplier if I owe money?

    If you’re in arrears with your current supplier you may not be able to switch though it largely depends on how much you owe.  

    If you do switch you’ll still need to pay all amounts due when your old supplier sends you your closing bill. 

    10. How much will I save by switching?

    The amount you’ll save by switching depends on your existing plan, your consumption habits and what offers are available at the time of switching.

    If you use an average amount of energy (that’s 11,000 kWh for gas and 4,200 kWh for electricity), you should save somewhere between €250 and €400 if you’re switching from standard rates to the cheapest deal on the market.

    If you use more energy than the average household, and/or live in a poorly insulated house, you’ll probably save a good bit more than that though.

    11. How often should I switch supplier?

    The general rule of thumb is to switch supplier every year to make sure you’re always getting the best deal available.

    That being said, some suppliers will offer a retention deal to customers to keep them sweet for an extra year or two but these tend not to be as competitive as the deals a new customer will be offered. 

    12. Is it better to switch to a dual fuel deal or to separate gas and electricity suppliers?

    It is usually a bit cheaper to get your gas and electricity from separate suppliers though this does change.

    However, you might like the convenience of only dealing with one supplier for both fuels. It all depends on how much you value the convenience of getting one bill every month, as opposed to two, and of having to only deal with one supplier.

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