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How to switch your feed-in tariff (FIT) provider

Posted by Kate Turner on 1 June 2012 at 10:45 am

The Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme has been running for over two years now, and more than 250,000 installations have been registered since it was launched in 2010. But what happens when the service from the FIT provider isn’t up to scratch and you decide to change your FIT provider? How easy is it to switch? And do you have to switch electricity supply too?  These questions are being asked more and more often, this blog offers some guidance on the answers.

You have the right to change your FIT provider at any time and you can choose which company you use as your feed-in tariff provider. So, if you are dissatisfied with your current FIT provider then you can simply switch to a company that you believe will offer you a better service. It’s important to remember that you do not necessarily have to get your feed-in tariff paid by the energy company that you buy your electricity from.

Switching FIT provider does not change the feed-in tariff rate you receive; you will continue to get the same rate. 

The process of switching feed-in tariff provider should be straightforward; the first step is to notify your current FIT provider that you wish to switch. This normally involves writing to your FIT provider to give them at least 28 days’ notice that you wish to switch FIT provider. They may also need meter readings from you so that they can calculate any outstanding FIT Payments due; and ask for your permission to provide your new FIT provider with information about you in order to facilitate the transfer.

Next, you need to approach the new FIT provider; either by contacting them directly and/or completing their FIT sign-up form. They will then request the switch from the original FIT provider and, if the original FIT provider consents, a switch date will be agreed. This is the date when the central register, kept and maintained by industry regulator Ofgem (in which all FIT- accredited installations are recorded), is updated to reflect who your new FIT provider is.

Both FIT providers and the FIT generator (you) will be notified once the switch is complete. You will agree a new Statement of FIT Terms with the new FIT provider.

Does it mean I have to switch my electricity supply too?

If you switch FIT provider you do not necessarily have to move your electricity supply too. It depends on the energy company that you switch your FIT to.

In general, the Big Six will take on FIT customers without their electricity supply (as long as you aren't buying your electricity from one of the other big six companies). This is because they are under obligation to be FIT provider for their own customers and anyone who does not have a FIT provider. However, some voluntary FIT providers require you to switch to their energy supply before they can be your FIT provider.

A few rules 

• When you decide to switch to a new FIT provider, all installations sharing the same meter must be switched to the same FIT provider.  • The old FIT provider will be obliged to pay all FIT payments due to you up to the switch date.
• The new FIT provider will be obliged to pay all FIT payments from the switch date.

If I have a smart meter installed, am I stuck?

If you are on deemed export then a smart meter installed by your supplier is irrelevant.  If it measures the total generation, then you may not be stuck but it’s best to clarify the situation with your current FIT provider, and check whether new FIT provider can read it.

However, if you are on metered export then there is an issue, which needs to be judged on a case by case basis.

Photo: Good Energy

About the author: Kate Turner is external affairs executive at Good Energy.

If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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Comments

11 comments - read them below or add one

olivia

oliviaComment left on: 28 April 2016 at 12:55 pm

Earlier I was the consumer of Ecotricity but since last last 7 to 8 months it was not giving satisfactory service so I switched to npower which was not  a tedious process. It is online process and takes only 5 minutes to complete the job. Only thing you need to know is who supplies you currently and how much you spend on your energy. To know more you can also contact to npower customer service here

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paul53

paul53Comment left on: 24 March 2016 at 4:03 pm

i must admit  i moved to them a  few  months  before fit  started  but  had no problems  with  them, give them  a  ring  their  customer service  is  very  good.they  also do  a  offer on  a  micro  chp  boiler if  your  heating bills  are high enough.

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parachuteman

parachutemanComment left on: 24 March 2016 at 2:44 pm

To Paul53, Hi paul I have never heard of flow energy, did you read both my comments because I am finding it very difficult to find a supplier who will take all  3 Gas, Electric and FIT. any info appreciated.

Mike

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paul53

paul53Comment left on: 23 March 2016 at 6:50 pm

i changed  to  flow energy  payments take  14  days every  quarter  . energy prices are always  the  top  3 and  you  can  phone up  and  talk to  a  human who  speaks  english

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parachuteman

parachutemanComment left on: 23 March 2016 at 12:29 pm

Further to my last comment my FIT supplier has now started saying my reading was not given in time (even though I use thier own web site on the reading date in question) this causes agrevation and I want to swap suppliers. They have also changed my reading dates so my second one covers March, April and May at the same rate, however the rates are upped at the beginning of April. Finally after a reading is confirmed I wait 12+ weeks for payment.

 

Mike.

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parachuteman

parachutemanComment left on: 23 March 2016 at 12:20 pm

I want to change my FIT supplier but have been refused, being told I have to stay with the supplier registered for the area ?  I have Gas, electric and Fit with one of the big 6 and would willingly change all 3 to be with 1 new company, because the one I am with is OK for gas and electric, but the customer relations for the FIT side is abysmal. Any help, thoughts or ideas will be more than welcome.   

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 22 October 2012 at 8:41 am

Hi Mick

Sorry that you're confused. I'll try and make it as simple as possible. 

1. You're right that the FIT provider is just a conduit for government money, and it should be irrelevant which you use. However, there are considerable differences in the levels of customer service between the companies, which is why you might want to change. We did a survey a couple of months ago which shows quite different levels of satisfaction. You can see the results here.

2. The big six have to be FIT suppliers. Smaller energy companies can choose to be. If your electricity is with one of the big six, none of the others will take you on just for FIT supply. So if you are moving from Southern to nPower for supply, you will probably have to move your FIT supply too. Or you could move it to one of the smaller, specialist companies.

3. If you move supplier you will continue to get the same rate of FIT, as that is set for the 25 year period of the FIT (and index linked). If anyone tells you otherwise, challenge them, because they are wrong!

I hope this clarifies things. If not, do ask again.

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mickreeves

mickreevesComment left on: 22 October 2012 at 7:03 am

Sorry, still not 100% clear sabout this (apologies!). Am currently switching our electricity provider from Southern to NPower. On the one hand this says you don't have to get your feed-in tariff paid by the energy company that you buy your electricity from, but it goes on to suggest that if you're with a big six supplier you 'must' have them as your FIT provider.

We have had panels since November 2010 and as such are getting a higher rate than more recent installations. Can see a scenario where we switch providers and are suddenly paid the current FIT rate.

If we didn't change FIT provider and Southern found out about this would we owe them any generation money? Surely the FIT provider is simply a conduit for the government to make payments to, and as such the FIT provider is irrelevant?

I thinks that's all...thanks!

Mick

 

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Fred1

Fred1Comment left on: 6 June 2012 at 9:49 am

Cathy,

This thread is about how to change supplier.....ie it concerns people who are registered......

In any  event we are 250,000 aplications down the road, the peak of applications has passed as tariffs fall, and are forecast to fall further, so there seems to be no reason any registration should take too long...

With 250,000 installations there is a lot of electricity flowing back in to the grid ( DECC deem half ???) I guess it does not go back to the power stations but it goes somewhere ( next door / next street ) I  guess the electricity companies big and small sell it ???? Do they pay 3 pence and sell for more than 10 pence ??? they sell every day and bill quickly or via DD on the other hand a generator bills infrequently and is paid later either one week or several months later....

You make a very good point about the ability of the larger companies to pay faster, It tends to suggest that we should sign up with the faster paying larger companies?????

I prefer to have the money in my pocket rather than in the bank account of an energy company

 

Fred

 

 

 

 

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 6 June 2012 at 8:25 am

Hi Fred

I'd say it's not just about how quickly the supplier pays, it's also about their customer service. We get quite a lot of complaints about the service - or lack of it - from most of the big six. They seem more likely to lose applications, and give out misinformation.

On your point about speed of payment: the majority of the money that any small generator gets is the generation tariff. The export tariff is a tiny proportion of that. The reason that many companies pay two months after meter reading is because that's how long it takes for Ofgem to pay them. Paying that before they have received it may be possible for big companies, but for the smaller players with lots of microgenerators it might lead to cash flow problems.

I think that there originally an expectation that energy companies might compete to attract customers by paying a slightly higher rate of export tariff, but it hasn't materialised. The minimum goes up from 3.2p to 4.5p for new installations on 1 August. There may be companies that pay more, but I'm not holding my breath...

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Fred1

Fred1Comment left on: 5 June 2012 at 11:57 am

Just some thoughts on changing, I am not an expert so do your own research, get more advice than just me......

It seems to me that the only service an electricity company provides to a generator is to pay the (Govt set)  tariff to the generator. For the consumer, until any electricty company pays more than any other, the only difference is the time between generating the electricity and obtaining payment from the electricity company.

Some companies are highly effecient and pay within seven days of a meter read others have targets of five working days.

On the other hand others state that they will expect to pay within two months....

I understand that the terms and conitions of each Electricity Company should be made available within two weeks of any request, so that the generator can consider the terms, prior to committing to any electricity comany.

  I understand however that  there are some companies who say you have to change to them, then and only then you can have a copy of the contract ?????.

 Perhaps if you are unhappy with your current electicity company it would be a good idea to find out when and how you will be paid, some are obviously much better than others, some are very slow.....

The Electricity companies seem to have avoided the recent reviews and price reajustments, It seems that under levelisation etc all their costs are passed on to other consumers, and  ( in addition ??) the big companies get an annual  per head payment of £50 or so and the smaller companies get about  £100 a head for each generator signed up.

I guess by chance if it takes a long time to pay a generator the electricity company will have sold the electricity several months prior to paying for it, this by chance will help their cash flow.

Perhaps when the tariff fall to 16 pence later this year and the export payment is higher for some but not all, there may be scope for some of the electricity companies to pay more for generated power, above the govt minimum, using some of their £100 per capita payment.....

Fred

 

 

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