• 1. Is switching providers free for me – how does Lumo make money?
    • At this stage our service is free for customers. Lumo receives a commission from the supplier when you switch, but we don’t play favourites – and importantly, you always have the option to see the whole market. That includes suppliers that we don’t receive a commission from.
  • 2. Why do I have to provide you with my email?
    • We will regularly check the energy market to see if there is a better plan available for you. In order to keep you up to date with this, we need your email address. We promise to use your email only for this purpose and we will never send you spam, plus you can always opt out.
  • 3. Does Lumo cover the full market?
    • We provide an unbiased source of information. We put our customers first and so that you can make an informed decision. This is why we give you the option to see all the plans in the market including those we cannot switch you to.
  • 4. How long does it take to switch energy companies?
    • It takes a few minutes online to request a switch of suppliers. Lumo will handle the rest – communicating with your existing and future supplier – the whole switching process typically takes 4 to 6 weeks.
  • 5. Will I experience any disruption?
    • No. Your new supplier doesn’t need to to install any cables or pipes and this means that you won’t have to have any new infrastructure created or any workmen visiting your house. The only change you will experience will be in your energy bill.
  • 6. Will my supplier contact me?
    • Yes. You’ll receive a joining pack and a welcome message from your new provider. This letter or email will confirm the new plan that you’ve signed up to.Your old provider may also decide to contact you – the only information that you’re required to give them is your last meter reading from the day you confirmed that you were going to switch away.
  • 7. Will there be an overlap in billing?
    • No. The two providers will have communicated with each other about the date of the switch over so there’s no chance of you being charged twice. The only way that you will end up paying both suppliers is if you haven’t cancelled any direct debits that you may have set up with them.
  • 8. How does the switching process work?
    • There are 5 easy steps:.
      1. Lumo will find the best supplier and plan for you – and if you’re happy – request the switch. Lumo will then take care of everything for you.
      2. Your new supplier will get in touch with you with information about the new plan you have chosen – this will be either by post or email.
      3. From the day you sign up via Lumo, you’ve got 14 calendar days to change your mind – so check all the information carefully and get in touch if you’d like to change anything.
      4. Once 14 days have passed, your new supplier will contact your current energy supplier and get the ball rolling to switch your supplies.
      5. A few days before your switch date you will be asked to supply your first meter readings, for your new supplier.

      The whole thing will take 4-6 weeks to be completed – but don’t worry you will not experience any disruption to your supply of energy.

      That’s it. Simple. So what are you waiting for…?

  • 9. When can I next change provider?
    • It is important to note that many gas and electricity companies have charges that apply to people who terminate their contract early. Lumo advises that you keep updated by checking the new deals available to you about twice a year – remember if you’re on a fixed rate deal, you’ll want to make sure that you are aware of when the deal finishes so that you can know what deals will be available to you.Alternatively, if you sign up for alerts from Lumo, we will automatically compare the market for you and recommend the best time to switch.
  • 10. What are exit or termination fees?
    • An exit or termination fee is a charge made by your energy company – should you end your supply contract early. Exit fees aren’t just charged on energy contracts; they’re also included in mortgage or loan agreements, or any other kind of contract with a set length. The costs associated with this vary by supplier, but are typically £30 per fuel (i.e. £60 if you switch electricity and gas).
  • 11. What happens to my balance when I switch energy suppliers?
    • When you switch suppliers, what happens to your balance depends on whether you’re in credit to your current provider, or if you have a debit balance.When you get your final bill from your old supplier, you’ll be able to see whether you have a debit or credit balance, and exactly how much it is. Remember, it can take a while for your old and new suppliers to organise your transfer, and you won’t get your final bill until the switch has actually taken place.

      If you have a debit balance

      If you haven’t paid quite enough to cover the energy you’ve used, or if you’ve fallen behind with your payments, you’ll need to pay your old supplier what you owe them.

      If you have a debit balance and you’ve been paying monthly

      If you’ve only owed the money to your energy supplier for 28 days or less, the debt can simply be transferred to your new provider, and you’ll have to repay them. However, if you’ve been in arrears for more than 28 days, you can’t switch until you’ve paid off the debt to your current supplier. If you’re in debt because your supplier made a mistake, they can’t stop you switching.

      If you’re in debt and you’re a Pay As You Go (PAYG) customer

      If you’ve had a debit balance for more than 28 days, you can still switch to a new energy company if your debt is less than £500 for gas and also less than £500 for electricity. You need to get your new provider’s permission if you want to switch your debt as well as your supply (this is known as the ‘Debt Assignment Protocol’).

      If you have a credit balance

      If you’ve paid for more energy than you’ve actually used, your old supplier should give you a refund – but it’s worth checking to make sure they do, and chasing them up if they don’t!

      If you’re in credit and you’ve been paying for your energy by monthly Direct Debit your old supplier will probably pay your refund into the bank account from which you paid your Direct Debits.

      You shouldn’t need to cancel your Direct Debit; your old supplier should simply stop taking it from your account each month. However, it’s sensible to keep an eye on your bank account for a couple of months to make sure they don’t forget.

      If you’re in credit and you’re a Pay As You Go (PAYG) customer

      If you’ve got a prepayment meter, try to use up all your credit before you switch, as it might take a while to claim a refund.

  • 12. What should I do if I change my mind?
    • You’ve got a 14 day ‘cooling-off’ period to change your mind after you’ve requested your switch. If that’s the case please email us at hello@lumoapp.co.uk
  • 13. Will my smart products still work if I switch provider?
    • If you’ve got a smart meter, you still have the right to move to a new energy supplier – but some of your smart products may not work with your new supplier. It is worth checking before completing the switch. In the future there will be interoperability between suppliers – but at present not all suppliers operate to the same protocols.
  • 14. What’s the delay with my opening or closing readings?
    • Opening and closing energy accounts is a little more complicated than just asking for your opening or closing readings – as several parties are involved. Let us explain the process so you know why your final statement might take a little while to come through. When you move to a new supplier, you’ll be asked for your electricity and gas opening readings to check them against your meter reading history. All energy suppliers need to do this.Your electricity and gas opening readings are checked by different companies. So, when your validated readings are returned to your new and old supplier, they might not come back together. However, both readings should come back within 6 weeks.
      As soon as your old supplier gets your validated readings, they’ll send out your final statements. But you might get one before the other – your final electricity statement before your final gas statement, and vice versa.
      If there’s ever a reading dispute, your old supplier might not send out your final statement until things are sorted – and that can take up to 12 weeks.
  • 15. Why is my energy switch delayed?
    • Usually we work with your new and old suppliers to get you switched over within 20 days. But sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Here’s an overview of common issues that lead to energy switch delays.If there’s a delay getting you switched, it’s likely to be one of 4 problems:

      Missing details

      It might be that we’re missing one (or both) of your meter numbers, or haven’t got your full address. If this happens, we’ll email and ask you to double check the information.

      Details don’t match

      When we your supplier works on your switch, we use national database to find your meter details, so we switch the right person. We send these to you to check. If you forget and they don’t match, we might transfer someone else by mistake. This is called an erroneous transfer.

      You’ve built up a debt

      If you owe your old energy supplier money, they may reject or block your switch, leading to a delay. It’s easy enough to get things going – in most cases, you can make a one-off payment to straighten things out, then your switch can get back underway.

      You’re with what’s called an ‘IGT’

      Most people in the UK are directly connected to the national grid. However, if you live somewhere remote or on a new build estate, things might be more complicated.This is because you might be supplied by what’s called an Independent Gas Transporter (IGT). It’s not a problem, and you won’t pay more for your energy – it just means that taking over supply can take a bit longer.

  • 16. What’s the Debt Assignment Protocol?
    • It’s a way to help customers who’re paying off energy debts move from supplier to supplier. Ofgem has asked all energy suppliers to make it easier for customers with energy debt to switch. Depending on the supplier you’re currently with – and who you want to switch to – you should be able to move up to £500 of debt per fuel (£1,000 for dual fuel) to someone new.

      Who can switch under the Debt Assignment Protocol?

      Customers who use prepayment (‘Pay As You Go’ or PAYG) meters to pay back debt.

      What happens to the debt?

      Your new supplier pays the money to the old supplier, taking over your debt. Then, over time, you pay the new supplier back in line with whatever you agree. That means you can keep paying it back through your meter, or possibly arrange a different repayment method with your new supplier.

      How to reduce your debt

      You’ll need to either keep paying back the amount you’ve agreed until you’re under the switching threshold, or make a one-off payment.If you’d like free, impartial advice about switching energy suppliers when you have an energy debt, Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) can help. They have created a page all about the Debt Assignment Protocol. If you’d prefer to talk to someone, give CAB a call 03454 04 05 06.

      There’s also more information on Debt Assignment Protocol on Ofgem’s website.

  • 17. What is an objection?
    • If you want to switch to a new energy company, your existing provider may be able to ‘raise an objection’ to stop or delay the transfer.An ‘objection’ is an official way for your energy provider to interrupt the switching process and put it on hold until they’re satisfied that:
      1. You don’t owe them any money
      2. You’re not breaking the terms of your contract with them in any way.

      However, your supplier can only raise an objection in certain circumstances. These will be listed in your contract with them. Here are a couple of examples:

      • You still owe them money and are in arrears with your payments.
      • You signed a fixed term contract (for example, one that lasts for 12 months or 2 years) and you’re still within that timeframe – so you’re still bound by your contract.*

      However, your energy company is not allowed to raise an objection if you haven’t actually signed up to a contract with them, or your contract has expired and they’ve moved you onto a ‘deemed’ contract.

      If your provider decides to raise an objection, they must let you know as soon as possible (this is one of the terms of their licence). They must also explain:

      • Why they’ve raised their objection.
      • How you can resolve matters and get them to remove their objection.

      If you’re in debt to your energy supplier

      • If you’ve been in debt for less than 28 days, your energy company can’t stop you switching; your debt will simply be transferred to your new provider.**
      • If you’ve been in debt for longer than 28 days you can’t switch until you’ve repaid the money.

      If you’re switching because your provider is raising their prices, you have 30 days to repay your debt before they can stop you switching.

      Your supplier can’t stop you switching if it’s their fault you’ve fallen into arrears – for example, if they’ve been billing you too little, so your payments haven’t covered the energy you’ve been using.

      If you use a prepayment meter and you’re on a Pay as you go plan, you can switch even if you’ve been in debt for 28 days or more, as long as your debt is less than £500 for gas and £500 for electricity. You’ll need to ask your new energy company if you can transfer your debt to them.

      *If you have recently moved into a property, you will need to get in contact with your energy supplier to let them know. This is important because if you apply to switch energy supplier and there’s debt on your account that the previous tenant owes, you will not be able to switch.

  • 18. What is a personal projection?
    • A personal projection is a calculation of your future personal energy costs over the next 12 months.
      Personal projection calculations are based on your current energy plan and its prices, including any known future price changes affecting that plan — for example, when a price rise has been announced but will not take effect for several weeks.

      Personal projections and fixed plans

      If your plan has an end date (e.g., you’re on a fixed price plan), your personal projection will also factor in what your energy costs will be changed to once that fixed plan ends and you are rolled on to a different plan.
      Keep in mind that those with a plan end date will have a fluctuating personal projection figure due to the fact that this number is a blend of the remaining days or weeks on their current plan, and the amount of time they will be on the new plan in the following 12 months.
      For example, let’s say you are on a fixed plan that ends 31 December 2014. In June, your personal projection may be £900 for the next 12 months. However, in September, your personal projection will be considerably higher — perhaps £1,200 — because you have less time remaining on the cheaper fixed plan, and more time on the more expensive plan you will be rolled on to.

  • 19. How do we estimate costs and savings?
    • We run a personal projection (See above). If you are on a fixed term tariff coming to an end within 12 months from the date of calculation, the Personal Projection methodology assumes that the you will take no action and be rolled onto your current supplier’s Relevant Cheapest Evergreen Tariff when their fixed term tariff end.
      Please note that you can incur a termination fee if switching to a new tariff. This fee is not included when we calculate your personal projection.To calculate your annual savings we compare the personal projection from your current and new supplier. The difference between the two projections is what we show as your savings. We then divide this annual figure by 12 to show you savings by month.
  • 20. What is a Warm home discount?
    • The Warm Home Discount scheme could provide you with a discount of up to £140 on your electricity bills for the winter of 2014/15.
      This scheme was introduced in April 2011 as part of the government’s Spending Review. It was originally intended to run for four years, but has now been extended for a year to 2015/16.
      The aim of the £1.1 billion scheme, which is funded by energy suppliers, is to help low-income and vulnerable households with their annual energy costs.
      Around two million households benefit from the Warm Home Discount each year.

      Who qualifies for the Warm Home Discount?

      If you were in receipt of the guaranteed element of the Pension Credit on July 12, 2014, then you’ll be eligible for the Warm Home Discount for the winter of 2014/15.
      But it isn’t only pensioners who can receive the Warm Home Discount. If you are considered vulnerable (for example, you might have a very low income), you might also be eligible for the scheme.
      Each energy supplier has its own rules about who it can help, so it’s worth checking with yours to see if you qualify. Often you’ll be eligible if you receive Income Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance.

      Which suppliers are part of the scheme?

      For you to be eligible to claim, your supplier must be part of the scheme, and you or your partner’s name must be on your energy bills.
      Nineteen energy firms (including the ‘Big 6’ of British Gas, Scottish Power, SSE, E.on, EDF Energy and nPower) provide rebates under the Warm Home Discount scheme.
      You don’t have to apply for the Discount, as you should automatically be sent a letter from your energy supplier to inform you of the rebate at some point during the winter.
      Contact the Warm Home Discount Scheme Helpline direct on 0845 603 9439 for more information. The line is open from Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

  • 21. Why so many Payment Options?
    • There are 2 main reasons.
      • Firstly, suppliers are required by their licence conditions to offer a range of payment methods to consumers. It is a regulatory condition of their right to supply.
      • Secondly, certain suppliers are beginning to offer an increasing range of payment options as a way of differentiating themselves through providing greater flexibility to consumers.

      Because different payment methods have different cost implications for suppliers, they will normally charge different rates depending upon how you pay.

  • 22. What payment method would you recommend?
    • If price is your main consideration, then monthly direct debit will almost always be the best way to pay, and it is also the most convenient. However make sure to check all prices change by region and supplier. You might find other payment methods works better for you.
  • 23. What is a Direct Debit?
    • Direct Debit payments are made automatically from your bank account to your supplier on a pre-arranged date either each month or each quarter. You must have either a bank or building society account to operate a direct debit payment scheme. You will also need to complete a direct debit mandate, which your new supplier will forward onto your bank.Direct Debit payments are protected by the Direct Debit Scheme, which means that:
      • You can cancel a Direct Debit at any time by writing to your bank or Building Society
      • The supplier must give you prior written notice, usually 14 days, if they want to change the date or the amount of the payment
      • If your money is ever collected incorrectly, your bank or building society will give you a full and immediate refund, even if the supplier made the error.

      Monthly Direct Debit

      The direct debit amount will normally be calculated on the basis of your actual or projected annual energy bill and divided into 12 equal monthly instalments. This amount is normally reviewed once a year and your monthly payments are adjusted accordingly.

      Advantages

      • Allows you to budget more effectively and to spread your payments over the course of the year
      • Ensures that you will not forget to pay your bills, hence avoiding potential hassles with payment reminders and disconnection notices
      • Direct Debit payments are protected by the Direct Debit Scheme
      • It is almost always the cheapest way to pay.

      Potential Disadvantages

      • The only downside with monthly direct debit is that you give up some flexibility in the way you manage your finances.

      Variable Direct Debit

      Variable Direct Debit is different to Monthly Direct Debit in that your actual energy bill is deducted from your bank account at the end of a fixed calendar period in which you use the gas or electricity. This calendar period varies depending on the tariff, you signed up for, and can be a quarter, a half year or a year.

      Advantages

      • All the advantages that apply to Direct Debit payments generally, will also apply to Variable payments. The main difference is that you only pay for the gas or electricity that you use, in the period in which you used it.

      Potential Disadvantages

      • Your bill payments will continue to be lumpy, with higher bills in the winter than in the summer
      • Certain suppliers will charge more for energy paid by variable direct debit because they do not get the same cashflows benefits that they get from fixed monthly payments.
  • 24. What is Standard Credit?
    • Also known as “Pay on receipt of bill” or “Cash/Cheque, this is where you receive your estimated or actual quarterly bill by post and pay it in the normal way, either by cheque through the post or by cash through your post office. This payment method also includes the option of paying by postal order.

      Advantages

      • Allows you to keep control of your finances.

      Potential Disadvantages

      • Does not have the convenience of automatic payment schemes such as direct debit, standing order or continuous authorised credit card transactions
      • Has potential hassles with payment reminders if you forget to pay your bill
      • Due to expenses incurred for processing cheques, postal orders or cash, this is a more expensive way of paying for your energy bills, compared with other payment methods.

      Credit/Charge Card

      There are two main ways to pay for your energy with your credit or charge card.

      • Calling your supplier, following receipt of your bill and charging it to your card:
      • Or, having the bill automatically paid with your card under a Continuous Authorised Transaction (CAT).

      With CAT schemes, your actual or projected annual energy bill is divided into periodically equal instalments (monthly or quarterly) and automatically billed to your card.

      The details of which schemes and cards apply to different tariffs are summarised on the tariff results pages.

      Advantages

      • Other than the potential savings on offer, credit card payment also gives you an additional interest free credit period, which can be anything up to 56 days, before you have to pay your bill;
      • It allows you to obtain additional benefits applicable to the credit card of your choice, such as Air Miles, or Barclaycard Reward Points.

      Potential Disadvantages

      • CAT schemes allow the supplier to alter the timing and the amount of the payment prior to informing you. However, they are still obliged to inform you, in writing, that the change has been made;
      • CAT schemes do not offer the same level of protection as Direct Debit Schemes. If errors are made with your payments you need to rely on your supplier correcting them;
      • If you want to cancel a CAT, you need the authorisation of the company debiting your card. This will normally happen automatically if you decide to cancel your contract
      • If you forget to pay your credit or charge card bill on time you will have to pay interest on the unpaid bill at the monthly rate applicable to the card.

      Charge Card

      Charge card payments are administered in the same way as credit card payment schemes. The main difference is that you must clear your charge card account by the due-date; therefore your interest free period is shorter. However, if you pay your energy bill using your charge card, you will benefit from any loyalty schemes offered by the charge card company.

      PC Banking / Telephone Banking

      This option allows you to pay your bills either by calling you bank, or online.

      Prepayment Meter

      Prepayment schemes are ones where you pay up-front for the energy that you use by inserting coins, tokens or cards into your meter.

  • 25. What suppliers we get commission from?
    • Avro No
      Better Energy Yes
      British Gas Yes
      Co-operative Energy Yes
      Daligas Yes
      E No
      E.ON Yes
      EBICo Yes
      Economy Energy No
      Ecotricity Yes
      EDF Energy Yes
      Extra Energy Yes
      First Utility Yes
      Flow Energy Yes
      Future Energy Yes
      GB Energy Supply Yes
      Glide No
      GnERGY Yes
      Go Effortless Energy Yes
      Good Energy Yes
      Green Energy No
      GreenStar Yes
      iSupply Yes
      LoCo2 Energy Yes
      M&S Energy Yes
      npower Yes
      Octopus Energy Yes
      Oink Energy No
      OVO Energy Yes
      Places for People Energy Yes
      Robin Hood Energy Yes
      Sainsbury’s Energy Yes
      ScottishPower Yes
      So Energy No
      Southend Energy Yes
      Spark Energy Yes
      SSE Yes
      SSE Scottish Hydro Yes
      SSE Southern Electric Yes
      SSE Swalec Yes
      Telecom Plus Yes
      Utilita Yes
      Woodland Trust No
      Zog Energy Yes