Home energy costs, such as electricity and gas bills, make up a substantial proportion of the regular expenses of most households. We’re collectively getting better at looking around for better deals, but some of us are still reluctant to change energy suppliers – even though many households could save around £200 by switching supplier. That amount of money’s not to be sniffed at, especially if you’re low on funds.
Much of the resistance to switching is due to being busy and stressed, but in the past it has also felt overwhelming for many of us since there were so many confusing tariffs available and so many people lacked confidence. However, things are looking up. Deals are becoming easier to compare, and there’s new impartial advice from Ofgem’s Be An Energy Shopper site to quickly get you finding the best tariffs like a boss.
Be An Energy Shopper is not a price comparison website itself, it’s more about helping you to be safer and more effective when you’re shopping around for home energy deals. There are several consumer guides on the site, including a handy How to Shop section that has clear and easy to follow tips to help you find the best offers, which I’d recommend as the best place to start. There’s also a full listing of Ofgem-approved price comparison sites, so you can use these services with a greater feeling of confidence.
The site is very mobile and tablet friendly, so you can access it easily wherever you are. It will give beginners plenty of information and confidence, and even the most cost-savvy person is likely to find a few new tips or some useful reminders of things they might have forgotten.
Tips for effective shopping around:
• Don’t panic, the process is now less complicated and overwhelming than it used to be!
• Make sure you know your average energy usage patterns before you start looking for deals (if you don’t know how to interpret an energy bill, there’s a handy step-by-step guide on Be an energy shopper)
• Remember to factor in early exit fees, if any. These only apply if the current deal period hasn’t ended yet, and some contracts don’t have them at all.
• It isn’t all about the price, you might also want to factor in levels of customer service satisfaction with different providers.
• If your household uses dual fuel (electricity and gas), you can sometimes save more by buying the two services from separate providers. It’s worth spending a few extra minutes on this type of search as well as dual fuel offers, since you can sometimes make big savings.
• Check the home energy market every few months to make sure you’re still getting the best available deal.
When was the last time you checked the energy tariff that you’re currently on?