The first of the Big Six energy suppliers has introduced faster switching, meaning it should take no longer than 17 days for a customer to join SSE.
The process previously took up to 35 days, but Ofgem has called for that time to be cut in half – and for next-day switching to be available by the end of 2018.
There is still a statutory 14-day cooling off period for new SSE customers. During that period, they can change their minds, cancel their contracts or stay with their original suppliers. But there will be just a further three days to wait after the cooling-off period for the switch to be confirmed.
“At SSE we want the market to be as dynamic and competitive as possible, and reducing the time it takes to switch is an important step,” said Jane Bednall, the company’s director of domestic energy.
Stephen Murray, of Moneysupermarket.com, said: “It’s good to see SSE embracing faster switching for its customers, and be the first of the Big Six energy suppliers to make this change.
“I hope this will encourage all other energy suppliers who aren’t yet ready to facilitate faster switching to move quickly and offer this to all of their customers.
“Anyone who has never switched energy suppliers to save money should have confidence now that it is faster and easier to do.
“There are significant savings to be had: the average household could knock around £200 off their annual gas and electricity bill.
“The millions of households that have never changed energy provider are paying over the odds, and could benefit significantly by switching today.”
Smaller provider First Utility looks set to be another early adopter of the quicker switching process, with the 17-day policy being introduced on November 10.
But SSE’s move means the other major suppliers are now playing catch-up. British Gas said its change “certainly wouldn’t be later than November”; Eon, Npower and Scottish Power are working towards the end-of-year deadline; while EDF Energy said it was “working to ensure customers benefit from this as early as possible this winter”.