If you’re like me, you’re probably sick of opening up energy bills that cause your jaw to drop to the floor. After all, we’re so careful about turning things off and keeping the thermostat down. Every bill is so much higher than the last. It seems other companies charge less per year, so I’ve decided to do a little research into what it takes to switch suppliers. If you think switching might be right for you, then read my top tips here:
- Check old bills – See what you have been spending over the last two or three years. You can use a spreadsheet to help you calculate what you use. Most suppliers detail your estimated annual usage on the back of your bill to help you with this too. Now you know what you spend, you can use a price comparison website to help you choose alternative suppliers. You can even call your preferred supplier and ask them for a more detailed price comparison based on your actual readings.
- Hidden charges – Some suppliers offer great prices per unit of gas or electricity. However, you may incur a service supply charge on top. Be sure the costs are transparent from your chosen supplier. There may also be conditions on special offers. These could include paying by direct debit or paperless billing. If these things don’t suit you, then choose a different supplier or tariff.
- Customer service – Many energy companies have had bad customer reviews. Whether it is one of the big six or a smaller independent, check what other people are saying about them before you commit to using them. For example, I’ve been seeing if First Utility still have issues by checking their website. Choose a company that is transparent in their problems and what they are doing about it. They should offer a commitment about how they will look after you as their customer. Customer reviews are quite easy to find online. Many energy suppliers are now posting their customer comments on their website. Read through them to gauge whether they are the right company for you.
- Wait three weeks – It still takes about three weeks to take advantage of your new tariff. Once you have decided to go with someone new, you will need to phone them with your full details. Your old company should not penalise you for leaving them. You still have a two week ‘cooling off’ period anyway. The old company will also send out their final bill to you quite rapidly, so be ready with your payment. Your supply will not be interrupted, and you will not be required to change meters at the time of switching.
- Smart meters – If you don’t already have one, ask your preferred supplier when you might be getting one. Smart meters take all the guess work out of your reading by sending live updates of actual usage to your supplier. This means you are only billed for your actual usage, so say goodbye to estimated readings.
Switching suppliers can be a headache if you don’t do your research first. Speak to one or two suppliers directly to ensure you are offered the best tariff for you. Finally, don’t be put off by a three-week wait. If it saves you £100 a year, it will be worth it!