Want to save money this winter? You may want to take a look at your current energy supplier and see if you can save money by switching. Read our FAQ below for help and advice.
If you are ready to switch then compare utilty suppliers now.
Yes. Despite wholesale gas prices dropping gas bills are still high although British Gas dropped their gas and electricity prices earlier this year and gained several thousand new customers. Other energy suppliers implemented what many consumers felt were stiff increases to their bills in 2008 but many fear that prices will stay steady throughout the rest of 2009 with no more price drops expected.
Switch to another utility provider offering a better deal. There are plenty of firms offering competitive deals out there and you could save several hundreds of pounds a year simply by switching. Online deals often offer the cheapest options. Many energy providers also offer discounts if you receive both your gas and electricity from them. Always compare with individual energy contracts though because the cheapest gas supplier may not always be the best deal for your electricity as well.
Yes as long as it saves you money. Gas and electricity prices are rocketing skyward so you can either accept it or take a little time out of your day and switch to an alternative supplier which will guarantee your bills will be reduced, therefore saving you money for something else like home improvements, a holiday, or gifts for your children. Just make sure you shop around and compare what's on offer. Comparison services are available online which provides consumers up-to-the minute comparison tables of the energy market and what are the best deals in your area. Try and check a few sites so you don't miss out on any companies in your area offering better deals and also check your local telephone directory. Try and make an informed decision and choose the supplier which best suits your needs. It's also about taking control and not feeling like you are being taken for granted. Remember, gas and electricity prices are rising fast so there is no better time to act than now.
It's simple. Very easy in most cases. The vast majority of switches are painless and customers find they are more than happy with their new provider and the savings they make. In fact, it can take just a few phone calls or a few clicks on your PC and you can be making savings. Once you have agreed to change, the new supplier takes care of the whole process for you. It takes around six weeks to switch. You will be asked for meter readings from your new supplier while your old supplier sends you a final bill. You should keep copies of all paperwork just in case problems occur. Your new supplier will normally let your old supplier know that you are switching and set up your new account. You will receive confirmation from your new supplier of your switch date, which is usually four to six weeks after you apply. Then, hey presto - four to six weeks later the switch takes place. You then receive the final bill from your old supplier up until the date of the switch.
Yes. It doesn't matter how long you have been at your new address. You can check who your gas and electricity supplier is and even if you do not have a recent bill you can still check estimates of what charges are compared to other companies and then switch if you are dissatisfied with the existing one.
In the UK it is thought most households have remained with their original suppliers since the market was broken up - ie British Gas and whatever the local electricity company was. If you are one of those people then it is likely you are paying a fair amount more than some of your neighbours who have switched. The consensus is that you can save at least £200 over the year for an average family and a lot more if you consume a lot of energy. So what are you waiting for?
No. The switch date is co-ordinated between current and new supplier. There is no interruption of supply. You will not be cut off. Switching energy supply doesn't mean physical changes at home. There is no work to be carried out. All you are changing in effect is the name of the company at the top of your bill and the amount you pay.
Each company sets different prices for gas and electricity and these vary by region. The biggest name firms are not always the best deals and unless you are on a fixed rate prices can change. The good news is there is nothing to stop you switching to another Utility Supplier and then you can always leave them if they decide to put their prices up excessively.
There are lots of internet based switching services, which compare prices and promise to help you make the switch for a fee but alternatively there is nothing to stop you comparing prices yourself for free. Other websites just provide comparisons, basically offering the information for free and then you do the rest. If you do use a switching service try and find one which is truly independent and offers a good range of companies to choose from. Some sites will have deals with various suppliers so may not be offering either the full range of comparisons or the best deal. The benefit of some switching firms is they arrange the switch there and then for you otherwise you need to contact the energy provider direct either on the phone or on online.
No need to worry. These can normally be maintained if required even after that firm is no longer supplying you with your gas or electricity.
If you have a capped price deal there may be penalties incurred for switching from your current supplier. Read your contract, check with your current energy company or speak to an independent energy advisor - one of the comparison sites may offer these. In most cases there is not a penalty though. Most energy companies offer 28 day rolling contracts so there is nothing to prevent you switching every six months if you need to.
Gas plus electricity deals sometimes offer the best savings. Direct Debit contracts will often offer further discounts. There are always discounted deals available for online only accounts.
The good news is there are even more ways to save money on your energy bills by implementing a few energy saving tips. By getting into a few good habits such as turning lights off when you leave a room, using energy efficient light bulbs, making the most of natural light and turning your heating and water thermostats down means considerable savings can be made throughout the year. Make sure you get your boiler serviced during the summer to help save on costs but also to make sure your boiler runs efficently during the winter months. Also check for grants for loft insulation and cavity wall insulation in your area. Again considerable savings will more than repay you for taking these measures over time - up to hundreds of pounds in some cases.
If that's whet your appetite then here are some more ideas to cut down on your energy bills and also help the environment:
More and more people are turning to eco friendly solutions such as solar panels, wood burning stoves or investing in proper cavity wall insulation to help them not only save the environment but also save them money.