Sticking with the same companies isn’t a marriage made in heaven when only new customers get the special offers! So switch and ditch!
Big tipIf you’re someone with a pre-pay meter, you can still switch! Since April 2016, none of the big six energy companies charge to change prepayment meters over to credit meters which tend to cheaper. They will likely run a credit check on you though and your energy account will need to be debt free. If you want or have to stick with a pre-payment meter, you can still check to see if there is a cheaper deal out there and switch.
What should you do with your extra money? Now that you’ve saved a few quid, we’ve a few ideas that will get you saving. Try them out here.
How long it’ll take: 20 mins
What you’ll save: Potentially hundreds of pounds
- Recent gas and electricity bills
- Internet access - to check the best deals
- Your bank details - for the new supplier, if you decide to switch
1. Ask about better deals
You know, you don’t actually have to switch. You could always call up your current supplier to see if you can pay less. Really.
Can you change to direct debits? Opt for bills over the internet? Move to a cheaper tariff?
Simple steps could lead to serious savings. But beware - ask about any exit penalties, if you decide to make a sneaky switch to another supplier afterwards. Then see if you can get a better deal somewhere else!
2. Know what you have
Knowledge is power. Dig out your gas and electricity bills, whether they’re at the bottom of a pile of papers, or buried in your email inbox. Then check: who supplies your gas and electricity? What’s the name of your tariff? And (hopefully) how much energy you use each year?
3. Get on the comparison sites
Make life easy. Use a price comparison website to find the best energy deal to suit your circumstances. Check out Ofgem accredited price comparison sites to find the deal for you (scroll down until you see the brown box and click ‘show the list’).
You will need to choose between fixed and variable tariffs. A fixed tariff gives you the peace of mind - the price you pay for each unit of energy, and any standing charges, won’t change. You get protection if prices go up - but you don’t benefit if prices go down. You may also face an exit fee if you want to switch suppliers before the end of your deal.
Comparison websites will want to know how much energy you use, whether in pounds spent or kilowatts (kwh) used. But don’t worry if you don’t know, as they can make a rough guess based on the size of your house, how many people live there, and the appliances you use.
Get reading - It’s so worth reading your gas and electricity meter, and checking them against your latest bills. Make sure you bills are right by submitting new readings to your supplier - it should only take a few minutes, online or by phone.
Use less energy - As well as switching energy supplier to get lower bills, check out our guide on ‘How to use less energy’ to cut costs even more.
Make the most of the whole market - On the comparison websites, tick the option to compare the whole market, not just the suppliers that pay a fee to the website.
Rent your home? You can still switch. If your name is on the bill, you can switch gas and electricity bills even.
Officially, you don’t need to ask permission from your landlord, but it’s a good idea to let them know anyway. Check your tenancy agreement, and talk to your landlord if there’s anything that says you can’t switch.
It’s not necessarily all about the price - Before switching, check out any info available on customer service. Some comparison sites include customer service ratings in their comparison tables. Which? and Citizen’s Advice does a customer satisfaction survey about what customers really think, which is worth checking before you decide who you go with.
This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.