Switching energy supplier is set to become much quicker, with energy companies confirming they are committed to slashing switching times by 50% by the end of the year.

Energy & Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey challenged energy suppliers back in October 2013 to reduce switching times dramatically, as part of the government’s work to help energy customers get the benefits of increased competition, and called on the industry to work collaboratively to bring about major change as soon as possible. This is the first key result from that work.

"With more suppliers, simpler bills and less complex tariffs than in 2010, switching can now save some people hundreds of pounds off their energy bills. So we wanted to make it faster to switch, as well as easier, and now we know we can," said Mr Davey.

“I’m pleased the industry has responded to my challenge and will now cut in half the time it takes to switch energy supplier. Delivering this by the end of this year is a challenge in itself but with the technical code changes with Ofgem for final approval, firms now have the time to change their IT systems and I’m reassured they can manage the remaining practical issues.

“While it’s great news we are making energy switching twice as fast, my long term ambition remains to get to 24 hour switching. Our ambitious programme to roll out 53 million smart meters by the end of this decade can unlock this and next month Ofgem will consult on the most effective and quickest ways to introduce next day switching.

“But I would urge people who want a better deal on their energy bills to switch now – don’t wait for these latest improvements to happen. Over 2 million people switched energy supplier between October last year and March this year, as competition is now hotting up. Some of the new smaller suppliers are cutting prices and forcing bigger players to respond, so check out today’s deals.”

Energy UK, energy companies and relevant industry bodies have now completed the work on proposals to modify electricity and gas codes which will allow faster switching. Switching hub changes are expected in November, with the industry on track to start offering customers faster switching by the end of 2014.

24 hour switching will be supported by the roll-out of Smart Meters, the majority of which are expected to be installed by energy suppliers between 2015 and 2020.