At the moment households are seeing their gas and electricity tariffs going up. NPower, EDF, Scottish Power all continue to ramp up their bills, many blaming rising wholesale prices for this trend. So it has never been so important to look at other energy suppliers and consider switching supplier.
Last year, customers changed supplier at the highest rate in six years. Bill payers switched 7.7 million times, saving them more than £200 per year according to Ofgem. Of those who switched 47% were to small or medium suppliers who seem to be attracting more customers over some of the bigger names. But a lot of households are not looking at their energy costs and have never switched supplier. With two thirds of energy customers on standards tariffs, which are often more expensive, there is still lots to do.
To compare energy tariffs then you can either use energy comparison sites or look at different energy suppliers direct. Ofgem has accredited various comparison websites including money supermarket, theenergy shop, unravelit and usitch. A full list of accredited sites can be found on Ofgem.
Many people don’t look at switching because they think the process will be complicated or time consuming. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Lets take you through what you will need.
The first thing you will need to do is get your last energy bill or annual summary. From this you will need the name of your energy tariff and unit rates, your energy consumption figures and exit fees.
There are other tools that can help you compare. They include TCR-Tariff Comparison Rate, The Tariff Information Label, and Personal Projection Plans.
This rate is a way of comparing energy tariffs. There will be a TCR for each type of energy tariff shown in pence per kWh (p/kWh), based on medium usage. This is not personalised for you but can be a good starting point to compare suppliers.
This is a way of presenting key facts about energy. This will include tariff name, tariff type, payment method, unit rate, standing charge, price guarantee, and exit fees.
This will be an estimate for your usage for the next 12 months. This will be shown in £ pounds. You can request a personal projection from your energy supplier at any time. Before you sign up with any energy supplier then they must give you a personal projection.
The process of switching should, with smart meters, also get easier. It takes on average around three weeks to switch suppliers, three years ago it took five weeks so is getting better. It is also interesting to note that complaints about switching dropped 36% last year which would suggest that companies are getting better in this.
There are no fees to pay if you are on an SVR but if you are on a fixed tariff there may be a termination fee to pay. Termination fees can vary from £5 to £30.
Some of the energy tariffs can confuse-these are the main ones, standard tariffs, fixed energy tariffs, duel fuel, online tariffs, pre-payment tariffs and green energy tariffs. So many people are on standard tariffs which do get a bad rap as they are usually not the suppliers cheapest.
So in summary do go online to comparison sites and with your last bill in hand see whether you can get a better deal on your gas and electricity. It won’t take long, your new energy supplier will do all the work for you and you could save hundreds each year.