Are You Sure You Have The Cheapest Gas and Electricity Deal?
Rising energy prices have forced homeowners and businesses to review their energy suppliers. The market for gas and electricity supply has exploded in recent years, and new companies are offering attractive deals and tariffs to attract customers. A decade ago the UK energy market was dominated by the likes of British Gas and Southern Electric, by you can now get your gas and electricity from Sainsbury’, The Co-operative and a range of other companies.
Online switching services are a great place to start looking for the cheapest gas and electricity suppliers, but there’ a little more to be done to make sure you are getting the best deals available. Tariffs and prices rise and fall, and getting the best deal today doesn’t mean you will be on the cheapest rates available a year later. Some energy suppliers offer energy saving technology and support, and signing up to the cheapest tariff doesn’t necessarily mean your bills will be lower than with any other company.
The following tips can help to ensure you really are getting the cheapest gas and electricity deals available.
1) Review And Compare The Whole Market
Many people think of the traditional suppliers when they look at comparing energy prices, but there are many smaller companies offering great deals. There are eighteen electricity supply companies in the UK at the moment, and you need to ensure you are including all of them in any comparison. You may not be familiar with names like Equipower and Countrywide Energy, but you should check their rates if they are able to supply power in your area. The energy supply business is heavily regulated in the UK, and there’ no need to worry about things going wrong with a smaller company as consumer protection laws are in place.
It’ not just as simple as asking which company supplies the cheapest energy in the UK, as the answer depends on your personal circumstances. The area you live in and the amount of gas and electricity you use are the key factors in determining the best tariff available for your home. Pensioners and families on lower incomes may be entitled to additional support with energy bills.
2) Understand Your Bills
Energy supply companies are sometimes criticised for producing confusing bills, and it can be hard to know if you really are getting the best deal if a bill isn’t clear. Each company sets out their bills in a different format, but they should all supply the key information you need to understand how much energy you抳e used and what it has cost. A bill should clearly state the billing period, the current tariff you are contracted to, the rate per unit of energy and how many units you have used. It’ important to take the time to read each statement and understand the numbers if you want to track your energy spending. An energy bill should also state how to contact the company if you have a query, and give advanced notice of any future price rises.
3) Check For Hidden Charges
There were thousands of complaints about hidden charges when the energy switching industry developed a few years ago. Regulators have issued guidance to energy suppliers to reduce the risk of customers picking up hidden charges, but it’ still important to understand the terms of your energy supply contracts. The key thing to check is if a daily standing charge will be added to your fuel bill. The unit price may appear lower than another company’, but a daily standing charge can mean the overall cost of your energy will be higher.
4) Exit Penalties
With the energy supply market so competitive, it’ important to have the flexibility to switch if you find a better deal. Exit penalties can mean you are locked into a contract with one gas or electricity supplier, so always check if these apply. If your supplier increases their prices, this can be considered a change in the contract and you should be able to switch without any penalty. As soon as you are notified of a price increase, look for a better deal and give your supplier notice that you wish to switch to a different company.