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Can you switch energy supplier without it affecting your FiT?

Posted by Sandra Hayes on 11 July 2017 at 12:40 pm

We have recently heard from readers with concerns about how switching energy supplier might affect their Feed in Tariff (FiT) payments. From personal experience I can confirm that this is not an issue, although it might help to explain why this is the case.

Firstly, everyone receiving FiT payments must choose a Feed in Tariff provider (a FiT Licensee). This is essentially the energy company which buys the excess electricity generated and so pays your FiT. If your current electricity supplier is a registered FiT Licensee (which all the big six suppliers are) then they must accept an application from you to be paid the FiT by them. FiT Licensees are not obliged to accept applications from generators who are customers of other FiT Licensees. Some (like E-ON) will only accept new FiT generators who are either existing customers or customers of non-FiT registered suppliers.

Secondly, most people with grid connected renewables still need to buy extra power from time to time so do still need a contract to buy electricity from an energy supplier. This is a separate contract from the contract for the sale of electricity through the FiT. The two contracts are completely independent of each other.  This means that there is nothing on my energy bills to indicate receipt of the FiT (even when I bought and sold electricity to the same supplier).  I just pay my monthly energy bills as normal and separately receive FiT payments once a quarter after I have given my FiT Licensee the readings from my generation meter.

As the FiT rates are fixed by Ofgem so it isn’t possible to shop around for a better deal. There is therefore usually no advantage in changing FiT supplier when you switch electricity supplier.  It’s actually a lot less hassle to keep the existing arrangement with your FiT supplier as it is, unless you are getting a poor service (e.g. slow payments). 

So in my case, I was a customer of SSE when I first became a generator.  I therefore registered as a generator through them (although I could have looked around to find other FiT Licensees who would accept my application) and started receiving my FiT payments.  When my fixed contract came to an end I shopped around and started buying my energy from npower.  My FiT payments from SSE continued as before.  When my existing fixed term with npower comes to an end I will look at switching again, to make sure I’m still getting the best deal.

Need help with any Jargon?

References

Information on switching:

http://www.yougen.co.uk/blog-entry/1917/How+to+switch+your+feed-in+tariff+'28FIT'29+provider++/

OVO Energy https://www.ovoenergy.com/guides/energy-guides/switching-energy-suppliers-with-solar-panels.html

U Switch https://www.uswitch.com/gas-electricity/guides/does-switching-energy-supplier-affect-feed-in-tariff/

More information on the feed in tariff

Ofgem https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/environmental-programmes/feed-tariff-fit-scheme/information-feed-tariff-licencees

Which http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/can-i-switch-the-energy-supplier-that-pays-my-feed-in-tariff

Image credit: David TREBOSC via flickr

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