That dreaded envelope, email, text message or however you receive it. The day your energy bills arrive seems to come around all too quickly. There’s nothing we can do about that, but what about if you could reduce the amount of pain it brings every month? There are hundreds of ways that you can reduce the size of your energy bills but there are a few that are more beneficial than the rest. Surprisingly, despite it being the number one money saver when it comes to energy bills, a surprising amount of people are still not switching their energy tariffs. People complain every time their bills comes around about it being too expensive, but the likeliness is that they are on the most expensive, standard variable tariff that their supplier has to offer! So, here’s what you can do about it:
Switch your energy supplier!
How much can you actually save?
Many people are sceptical about the amounts of money that they can actually save when it comes to their energy bills; switching your energy tariff is without a doubt the number one way that you can save noticeable and potentially life changing amounts of money on your gas and electricity bills. Each energy supplier across Great Britain has a completely different pricing structure and sources their energy through different methods, meaning there is a pretty large price disparity across the board. It is your job to choose not only the cheapest, but the most suitable for your household. There are many variables that affect the price of your quotation, such as your postcode. Because of distribution charges and static costs imposed by local distribution networks, prices can vary pretty largely depending on where your property is located. For example, Scottish Power prices in Edinburgh and Glasgow are much more expensive than they are in Newcastle, despite it being just down the road.
Just to illustrate the real difference that you could see between the most expensive and the cheapest tariff on the market, here is an example:
Usage: 12,500 kWh of Gas
3,100 kWh of electricity
Payment: Direct debit
Tariff 1 – Bulb’s ‘Vari-Fair’
Electricity – £389.15 per year
Gas – £447.58 per year
Total – £836.73 per year (£69.73 per month)
Tariff 2 – Co-operative Energy’s ‘Green Pioneer’
Electricity – £617.68
Gas – £553.76
Total – £1,171.44 per year (£97.62 per month)
As you can see above, there really is a huge difference between the two ends of the spectrum. Bear in mind that these are both variable tariffs with 100% renewable energy, meaning that the products are exactly the same, but have a £334.71 price difference per year. If you’d rather pay the extra, then that’s fine, but if you’d like to save some serious cash, carry on reading!
How do you switch?
There are a number of ways that you can switch nowadays. Today the most popular is by using a comparison engine. This is predominantly carried out online, in which you input your information, such as postcode, meter type, payment method and a couple of other things. The website will then show you the cheapest offers currently available to you in an easy to understand manner, allowing you to proceed with the switch without any stress. The rest is carried out by the comparison company themselves. Alternatively, if you prefer to speak with someone directly, some comparison services have a telephone option, which is definitely the best option for people who have never switched before so that the sales agent can talk you through the process and your options.
If you have an idea of who you’d like to be with already, you can directly call the energy supplier for details about their current offers. You can, like the comparison websites, also use their websites to directly sign up for a contract, which works on exactly the same basis. Whichever method you choose to switch your energy tariff, it should not be too complicated.
Finding the right tariff
When you begin your search for a new energy tariff, it can be as easy as you want it to be. But if you want to think about the bigger picture and the potential snags that you could hit along the road, here are a couple of things that you might want to think about:
- Fixed or variable – Do you want to protect yourself from the potential rises but risk having to pay an exit fee if you cancel your contract early? Do you want complete flexibility but potentially see an increase in your tariff price?
- Standing charge – Do you have a seldom occupied second home? You may want to look into a 0p standing charge tariff so you’re not paying anything when you’re not in it.
- Green or standard – Do you want to sign up for a 100% renewable electricity tariff? Sometimes these can be a little bit more expensive, but not always.
- Multiple companies – Sometimes you may find that adding two tariffs together from separate companies turns out cheaper than dual fuel through one, but this is much more complicated when you want to switch and when you encounter issues. You may also have two different termination dates and two different billing cycles.
- Customer service – Do your research into the customer service reputation of the company you’re interested in. Big companies are prone to errors, and you need to make sure that your new supplier will resolve your issue as efficiently as possible.
Reduce your consumption
Finally, to round off your money saving mission, here are a few different energy saving tips that you could implement in your home to further extend the savings after you’ve switched to a new tariff:
- Switch off lights and appliances when they are not in use.
- Unplug items that are always plugged in and seldom used. They are still consuming electricity even when they’re not on.
- Switch your older light bulbs to LEDs and reduce your lighting consumption by up to 90%.
- Wait until you have a full load of washing or dishes to put in your washing machine and dishwasher.
- Don’t use a clothes dryer. Always hang your clothes to dry either outside or on a clothes horse.
- Every degree by which you turn down your thermostat you save noticeable amounts of money.
- In rooms that you don’t need heating, turn off your radiators by the valve.