People will be able to swap household energy supplier within three days after regulator Ofgem approved new plans today.
Switching time is being scythed down from the five weeks it takes at the moment.
There will still be a two-week “cooling off period” in case a customer changes their mind. Within 14 days they can ditch a new contract and go back to their original supplier.
The changes are due to kick in at the end of 2014.
Dermot Nolan, Ofgem’s CEO, said: “Consumers can change their bank in seven days, their mobile phone in just a couple but have to wait significantly longer to switch their energy supplier.
“Following the steps we have taken steps to make the market simpler, clearer, fairer, we are now leading a programme which will deliver faster, more reliable switching.”
In another four years, next-day switching will be possible according to Ofgem which also published new proposals to replace the IT systems used in the switching process. These were originally developed in the 1990s.
Part of this 2018 change is a centralised service to manage duel fuel tariff switching.
Consumer group Which? wanted 24 hour switching “as quickly as possible”.
Fast switching wasn’t the only thing which would help energy users, said Executive Director Richard Lloyd: “It will also be essential that suppliers do more to introduce simple pricing so consumers can easily see the best deal for them before they switch.”