Five minutes of your time could save you £350 on your energy bill
After huge price hike announcements, many are burning £350 a year. Yet it takes just five minutes, you can stop it.
It takes just five minutes with my www.cheapenergyclub.com, which I’ve designed to try and make it easy, and it automatically lets you see all tariffs across the market, and then monitors them afterwards in case a cheap deal launches.
Plus as comparison sites get paid around £60 (dual fuel) if you switch through them, Cheap Energy Club gives you £30 cashback.
Alternatively use any www.ofgem.gov.uk approved comparison site. However, do beware some will ask you something like, “Do you only want to see tariffs we can switch you to today?”
This is a proxy for: “only see tariffs that pay us”. So always select to see the whole of the market.
And if you’ve not switched because you find comparing too confusing, my most important message is that the sin of not comparing is worse than the sin of getting a comparison wrong.
You may end up on your third- or fourth- cheapest instead of your first, and with wrong predicted savings – yet you’d still be on a cheaper deal.
Far bigger savings are possible by switching to a standard meter, as there’s more competition.
If you’re with a Big Six firm you won’t be charged for switching meter, though will usually have to pass its credit check. Full help in www.mse.me/prepaidenergy.
You can do an electricity-only comparison exactly the same way as dual fuel, and the savings can still be substantial. If you’re on an Economy 7 or 10 tariff, comparing is trickier, though.
If you switch to a tariff with a guaranteed cheaper rate, you will save on the energy used.
Yet if the firm estimated you’d use less energy than you are, the initial direct debit can rise.
This feels like a price hike, but in the end as it’s a cheaper rate you’re still better off, although it is frustrating.
Yet do get on the phone and ask it to justify any direct debit rise. If it can’t you’ve a right to have it at a fair level.
When you do a comparison the ‘saving’ is compared to what you would’ve paid if you did nothing.
Yet prices are rising, so if your bill was £1,000 last year, it would be £1,100-ish this year, therefore a £200 saving only cuts what you actually pay by £100.
Yes. Suppliers charge around six per cent less if you pay specifically by monthly direct debit, so if you can, opt for that, but always give regular meter readings to get accurate bills.
Landlords can’t stop you changing supplier (unless your rent includes the energy bill).
If they unfairly band it in your contract send them this factsheet www.mse.me/energyguide#rentingfactsheet.
However, you do need a landlord’s permission to change the physical meter, eg switching from a prepayment to a normal meter.
Yes, but grab a ‘portable’ deal. That’s one that can move with you when you move. You’ll find whether it’s portable listed by most comparison sites.
Most comparison sites will ask you a few questions and estimate your usage.
There’s a lot of small, new challenger energy firms. Big picture is: don’t worry. Even in the unlikely event that one went bust, the regulator Ofgem guarantees you won’t be cut off, and your custom will be moved elsewhere – though you may lose any super cheap deal (but would be free to switch elsewhere).
The bigger issue is some of these small firms pump out very cheap deals to build market share, and then can’t cope with the demand, hitting their customer service.
So look at the feedback ratings on comparison sites, and if it’s not good, scroll to the next cheapest.
- Martin Lewis is the founder and chairman of MoneySavingExpert.com. To join the 12 million people who get his free Money Tips weekly email, go to www.moneysaving expert.com/latesttip.