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It seems the cost of energy is forever changing. Invariably, as one provider changes their prices, the others seem to follow suit. This can make the task of ensuring you are getting the best rate quite tricky, but ultimately if you compare the latest deals on offer and understand how to calculate your usage, you may find that you can save a considerable amount by switching. It's always wise to know exactly what you are currently spending and stay informed of your current rates in order to save as much possible.
* The compareandsave.com utilities tool is powered by Energyhelpline, who is fully accredited to the Consumer Focus Confidence Code. At least 10% of customers who used energyhelpline to switch their gas and electricity between 1 July 2010 and 4 October 2011 saved £389 a year or more. The average saving was 16%. During the last round of energy price rises (June 2011 - September 2011), prices rose by 14.4% on average across the big six energy suppliers.
Many consumers think of their energy needs for gas and electricity as being separate, because they continue to buy each from the supplier that they’ve always used. Most of the major energy providers in the market now supply both gas and electricity in what they call “dual supply”. If you choose to take both forms of energy from the same supplier it can be more convenient and often leads to discounts.
That said, even when your current provider offers you a dual rate (as they often do) and it turns out to be cheaper than the amount you are currently paying, this doesn’t guarantee you’re receiving the best rate. It may be that you could be saving considerably more elsewhere.
You can now check quickly and simply by inputting your postcode in to an energy comparison site which can enable you to seek out a great deal.
You will be required to enter your current provider, your postal address and your tariff name & usage (kWh). All of these can be found on the usage statement/ bill that you receive regularly from your supplier.
Many providers charge customers more if they don’t choose to pay by direct debit. Therefore, if you want to save as much as possible you should perhaps consider making this the way in which you pay your bill. Alternatively compare the current providers to check which do not penalise customers for other payment methods.
You should also be sure to check for deals and prices online as many providers now reserve their best rates for customers who are online. If you have a computer with an internet connection, you may wish to consider a tariff which is specifically online only in order to get the best rates.
You should check that if you decide to cancel your current service that this will not mean you are charged with an early cancellation fee. If there is a fee for leaving early, you must ensure that with the cost of the charge taken in to consideration that the switch is still of financial benefit to you.
That said, if you are switching as a direct result of a new increase in price, you should not be charged for leaving. In order to avoid any charges, you should look to switch ASAP (usually within 30 days) after the implementation of the new pricing structure.
You also need to consider which tariff type you would like as you have the option of a fixed or variable one. Both options offer various positives and negatives.
- Fixed tariffs offer a price which is set (fixed) per unit for both electricity and gas.
- Guaranteed pricing offers you the comfort of knowing exactly what you are paying month on month.
- Typically Fixed tariffs costs more than variable tariffs.
- Are more often cheaper per unit
- No set price means your price is subject to change and will increase if your supplier decides to increase the price.
- Variable tariffs are less likely to impose penalties for switching supplier