Switching supplier with existing debts
If you have owed any money for less than 28 days (eg, you have not yet paid a recent bill), you are normally able to change supplier in the usual way, and the debt is transferred to the new supplier.
Switching supplier while in debt after 28 days is subject to provisions contained in a protocol agreed between Ofgem and energy suppliers. If you have a credit account and you have a debt, your supplier can stop you from switching to a new supplier until you pay off your debt – this is referred to as ‘debt-blocking’. If your current supplier blocks your request to switch, it must give you advice on the best tariff for you, managing your debt and energy efficiency.1Condition 14.9 SLC Under these arrangements, if you have a prepayment meter you should be able to switch supplier and transfer a debt of up to £500 per fuel.2Ofgem debt assignment protocol for prepayment meter customers letter, 12 May 2015, This happens under a debt assignment protocol (see here). You may be able to get help to clear energy debts by using funds and grants (see Chapter 12).