As the big energy suppliers look set to raise their prices for gas and electricity yet again, now is the perfect time to check whether switching to another supplier will save you money – just by switching, some people could save over £200 a year!
Quickly Compare Prices
There are easy ways to compare energy prices. Some of the most popular are by using freephone telephone numbers or Web-based comparison services; just tell them where you live and how big your bills are, and they will tell you who the cheapest provider is in your area.
One of the largest of these comparison services, uSwitch, has joined forces with the National Housing Federation to create My Home Energy Switch. My Home Energy Switch gives housing association tenants a free, impartial comparison and switching service, which can be done either online or over the telephone. It could help you save up to £458* per annum on your gas and electricity bills.
*Between 1st July 2010 and 31st December 2010, at least 10% of people who switched energy supplier with uSwitch.com saved £458 or more. The process is simple, fast and effective and can be easily completed in a few minutes via the free customer helpline or the dedicated website. To use the service, simply call 0800 051 5346 or go to www.myhomeenergyswitch.org.uk.
Other switching sites and services are also available.
To make even more savings on top of changing providers, there are still many other things you can do to cut your bills.
- Switch to monthly direct debit. If you currently pay your bills quarterly when you receive them, you can cut the cost simply by switching to monthly direct debit payments.
- Do a meter reading every time. Every time you receive a bill, do a meter reading: don’t rely on your energy provider’s estimate, as these are often incorrect. If your provider is under-billing, you’ll have a large bill to pay at the end of the year; if they’re over-billing, then they have your money. If your direct debit amount is incorrect, request that it be changed.
- Switch to your electricity/gas provider’s Internet tariff. If you switch to your company’s Internet billing, it will usually save money over the standard tariff, providing you’re prepared to be billed online.
- Are you facing financial hardship? If so, some companies offer special tariffs that could help. However, you can’t assume these will be the cheapest. It’s possible that the cheapest Web tariff will beat many hardship deals.
- Avoid pre-payment meters if you can. Those who are on pre-payment meters pay much more than everyone else. If you’re on a pre-payment meter, try to switch to a billed meter. Whilst this is not always possible, doing so will save you cash. If you aren’t able to switch, it’s worth looking at www.ebico.org.uk, which has historically been competitive on pre-payment meters.