The gas and electricity market is nowadays very crowded, with companies competing for customers by offering a range of constantly changing tariffs, all claiming to have some particular benefit.
Price comparison websites
This is where price comparison websites play a useful role. Simply by typing in your postcode and some estimate of your annual energy consumption or billing amount, you can see instantly how your present tariff compares with the range of alternatives on offer. The sites also provide basic information about each tariff, and contact details for the supplier in question so that you can arrange to transfer supply if you choose.
Your existing tariff
Energy companies are now obliged to display basic information about your electricity or gas tariff on the bill, making it easier to compare with others. This will include what exit fees, if any, will apply should you switch to another supplier.
Another option for getting a better deal is to harness the power of collective bargaining by joining a collective switching scheme. This may be run by a community group or a nonprofit company, which negotiates with the big energy companies to provide the best possible deal for the scheme's subscribers. There is no obligation to switch if you don't want to - you are just given the option. See Collective switching for better energy deals?
Code of practice
A voluntary code of practice exists for on-line domestic price comparison sites, to ensure that the information is independent, impartial and comprehensive. Ofgem has responsibility for this Confidence Code, and sites that follow this code receive accreditation from Ofgem.
The following sites are accredited by Ofgem: