Woman reading energy bill in front of meterQ: Can I switch providers if I pre-pay for my energy bills at the moment?

A: If you have struggled to pay your energy bills in the past and now have to pre-pay with tokens or an energy card, you have historically only been allowed to switch deals, and therefore secure yourselves lower prices, if your debts were under £200.

However, from 1st November this will all change and if you are with one of the big six energy companies (British Gas, EDF, E:On, Scottish Power, SSE and npower), you’ll be able to switch to cheaper deals with other suppliers even if your debts are up to £500.

Energy providers will also have to contact customers and let them know about how to switch and all the possible deals available to them.

These new rules have been put in place to help deal more effectively with energy debt in the UK. Currently more than 315,000 electricity customers and 320,000 gas customers owe at least £350 to their supplier. By raising the debt limit for customers eligible to switch, it’s hoped people will get out of debt quicker.

If you think you could benefit from a cheaper deal and pre-pay for your energy, contact your supplier after 1st November 2012 for information on the best deal for you.

Andrea Ventress, Money expert

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