If you need to squeeze some savings out of your monthly budget, checking whether you can save on your energy bills is always a good starting point.
Here in the UK, the number of energy providers now goes way beyond the standard big six (British Gas, E.ON, npower, EDF Energy, Scottish Power and SSE). The energy market has made room for a number of smaller providers; in fact there are over 40 energy providers that you can choose from.
All this choice is a good thing – it means that these companies are always offering new deals on gas and electricity to try to beat the competition. This is why it’s worth seeing whether you can benefit from a cheaper deal at least every 6 months.
You can save hundreds by switching
In some cases, a simple switch to another energy provider could save you around £200 per year. If you’ve never switched before, you could be in for even more of a treat when it comes to savings!
If you’re not sure where to start or how to compare prices for energy, there’s a really good free resource you can take a look at – the “Be an Energy Shopper” website.
Be an Energy Shopper has been created by Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets). It’s designed to help users find out what to look for when shopping around for energy and it lists a whole batch of Ofgem approved energy price comparison sites for when you’re ready to research possible savings.
There is a very helpful guide on this site that you can download and use when you’re ready to go energy shopping. It gives you all the contact details for each energy provider, plus a comparison notepad, where you can jot down the results of your research easily.
There’s also a whole section on how to understand your tariff because let’s face it, when you’re looking at an energy bill, it can seem like it’s written in double Dutch.
How difficult is it to switch energy providers?
In terms of actually switching once you’ve found a good deal, it’s quite easy. Your new energy provider will do most of the work for you.
You will need to take meter readings when prompted so you can pay your last bill with your previous supplier (you might have to do this in the same month as paying your new provider, so be prepared for that).
The only time you might find yourself unable to switch energy providers is if you’re a tenant and the bills are included with your rent – or if you’re in debt to your existing provider.
If you’ve been in debt to your existing provider by more than 28 days, you won’t be able to switch until your bills are up to date. If you’re in debt by less than 28 days, then the debt can be added to your final bill.
In the UK, millions of people have actually never switched their energy provider. This could be down to a few reasons. Perhaps they feel happy about the customer service they’re already getting, or they feel comfortable sticking with what they know – or maybe they think it’s too much hassle to switch.
The reality is that switching energy providers is fairly painless and because of the amount of competition in the energy market today, the deals that are about at the moment are just too good to ignore!
If you want to make a little more room in your budget, then shopping around for your energy should be a regular activity, just like when you shop around for your mobile phone or insurance deals.
Have you switched lately? If so, what kind of savings have you made?
*Thank you to Ofgem for sponsoring this post – all opinions are my own.
Image sources – top image courtesy of Unsplash and bottom image courtesy of Pixabay. Text overlay added by Disease Called Debt.