Christmas is just around the corner and buying gifts for the entire family doesn’t get any easier on your pocket. One of the key money saving ideas that many British households forget, however, is switching your energy bills. Year on year, gas and electricity prices surge, leaving us with less and less money to spoil our kids and other relatives, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Hundreds of pounds in savings are literally 30 seconds away, but not enough people are taking advantage of this. Read through this article and you’ll find out how you can free up hundreds of pounds extra for your christmas shopping list.
Why switch your energy tariff
There are a plethora of reasons as to why you should switch your energy tariffs, but none more so than to save money. There are hundreds of energy providers in operation across Great Britain but around 85% of people go with the same six. This is due to the ‘Big Six ’ having natural authority due to their longstanding existence and financial backing; however, in recent years there have been a great number of the smaller suppliers overtake them in terms of both quality of service and price.
Most people are under the impression that the big six are better providers, whilst not really knowing what qualities to judge them on. All gas and electricity supplies, if connected to the national grid, are exactly the same. The only thing that changes when switching provider is your customer service and the price you pay.
Energy suppliers like British Gas and Npower buy their energy in advance and pump it in into the national grid like everyone else, but there is no dip in quality by choosing an alternative supplier: all gas and electricity goes through, respectively, the same network.
How much could you save?
Obviously this will depend on your specific circumstances; however, at any given time, switching from the most expensive to the cheapest tariff on the market (with the UK average consumption), you would be looking at around £350 in annual savings. There is a huge price disparity in the UK energy, which goes greatly overlooked by most of the population. For too long have the big conglomerates relied on their ‘household name’ status to retain their customer base. Now that independents have thrown their hat in the ring, however, the game is changing.
Your savings will mainly rely on the following variables:
- When you last switched
- Your current tariff
- The tariff you’re going to switch to
- Your meter & payment type
- Your location
How to switch
The easiest and best way to compare gas and electricity tariffs nowadays is to use a comparison engine that will also take care of the switch for you. Most of these services can now take care of your switch with just your name, address and bank details; however, it is useful to have a few other details to hand just to make your comparison a bit more accurate. Having your usage and current tariff information on hand is definitely a bonus.
Comparison engines like Money Supermarket and Uswitch will take you through your comparison by requesting a few details which will then generate the cheapest tariffs available to you.
You should first consider whether you want a fixed or variable tariff. This refers to your unit rate for gas and electricity. You times the unit rate by the amount of energy that you use. This is how your bills are made. Where variable tariffs can first appear better due to their flexibility and no contract length, a fixed tariff is almost always going to work out cheaper for you. A fixed tariff will lock you into that company for a predetermined amount of time with the option to cancel anytime subject to exit fees (usually around £40 per fuel).
You should then consider whether you want to contribute to the wellbeing of the environment and the support of renewable generation by signing up to a green energy tariff. These are tariffs that use only sustainable generation methods. This will directly remove your usage demand for fossil fuel generation and support the infrastructure development in renewables. Sometimes these tariffs are a little bit more expensive, but they are now becoming that popular that this is generally no longer the case.
Don’t be scared of independents
Humans are creatures of habit and we tend to go towards to company or brand that we know and have a longstanding relationship with, but making the switch to an independent energy supplier could turn out to be one of the smartest moves you ever made. As mentioned earlier, there is absolutely no difference in the supply that you will receive, just the price and customer service you receive. The differences in price are more backend and don’t concern the customer.
You should of course, before signing up to any company, check their customer service ratings on an authority reviews website like TrustPilot or Which?