Customers and consumers have the right to select and switch their supplier free of charge, which enables them to influence a part of their total energy costs.
Here are 5 steps on how to proceed when switching a supplier:
1. Assessing the benefits of switching a supplier
Before switching a supplier, you should check whether the switch is favourable for you. It is therefore advisable to single out specific suppliers and pricing and commercial terms and conditions. For an easy comparison of suppliers' price offers, you may use, for example, the ERO reckoner.
2. Selecting the appropriate supplier
If you decide to change your supplier, it is not advisable to focus your choice only on one supplier with the best price offer. Another important issue are the references, i.e. the new supplier's reputation, financial stability, compliance with the Code of Ethics, the amount of contractual sanctions, the possibility to conclude the contractual relationship for an indefinite term, as well as to find out whether the supplier charges fees for its customer help line. One of the key benchmarks for supplier comparison is their commercial terms and conditions, which suppliers usually post on their website. The commercial terms and conditions contain particularly the following provisions:
• duration of the contract, whether indefinite or definite, the notice period,
• additional services offered by the supplier and access to such services (brick-and-mortar offices, telephone, website) and fees charged for such services,
• the list of contractual sanctions and charges,
• the complete and valid price list for the particular year (beware of misleading information and old price lists),
• rights and obligations of the contractual parties,
• whether the switching of the supplier is subject to a fee (while switching a supplier is free of charge under law, some suppliers still collect an ‘activation charge' for mediating the switch);
• the method and possibility of terminating the contract with the new supplier if you are dissatisfied with the provided services.
3. Execution of the contract
Once you have selected a new supplier you must execute a contract on the supply of bundled services with that supplier. Before the ultimate execution of the contract, you should ask the supplier to provide to you the draft contract, a valid price list and valid commercial terms and conditions (we recommend you to review these documents thoroughly).
To facilitate the whole supplier switch procedure, you can grant the selected supplier upon the execution of the contract a power of attorney to represent you in the supplier switch procedure. The supplier, who has more experience with the supplier switching procedure, may then take some of the steps on your behalf to speed it up.
4. Supplier switch procedure
If you sign a power of attorney for representation in the supplier switch procedure, this section does not basically concern you. The whole process takes 1 to 6 months, depending on the notice period, or even longer in case of contracts executed for the indefinite term or for longer periods. If you decide not to sign a power of attorney for representation in the supplier switch procedure, you have to manage the whole process on your own.
5 Supply from the new supplier
Once all the steps required for changing your supplier have been taken, the new supplier will begin to supply the energy. The trader should inform you about this, as well as about the date when the supply by the new supplier actually commenced. Thereafter, it is advisable that you report your own meter readings as of the date of the supplier switch to the distribution system operator (within 5 working days as of the supplier switch). You will then receive the final bill for energy consumption, which will settle your liabilities with the old supplier. When receiving the first bill from the new supplier, you should check the whole invoice, particularly to see if the agreed commercial terms and conditions and prices have been observed. It is necessary to redirect your payments for energy to the new supplier's bank account.
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