Checking that you are with the right energy supplier and on the right tariff can be confusing, as there are almost 60 different domestic energy suppliers offering a vast array of tariffs.
One of the easiest steps to take is contacting your existing energy supplier to find out if you are on the cheapest tariff, for how much energy you use and how you pay for it.
Some energy companies offer discounts for prompt payment and 'dual fuel' (ie having electricity and gas with the same supplier). In general, the very cheapest deals require you to pay by monthly Direct Debit and also to manage your energy account (or accounts) online. Our guide on how to pay for energy looks at different payment methods.
The larger energy suppliers are also obliged to provide a discount for vulnerable customers called the Warm Home Discount. If your household income is £16,000 per year or less, eligibility for this should be considered when comparing tariffs since some energy suppliers offer this to certain groups while others don't. If you are unsure about this, contact our Home Energy Advice Team.
If you decide that you are not happy with your current energy supplier, it is important to shop around. Using a price comparison site is the best way to do this.
There is a well established price comparison site based in Alloa which allows you to compare deals and switch online or switch by telephone.
If you use prepayment meters for your fuel, it is important to do separate comparisons for your gas and for your electricity. Suppliers do not offer 'dual fuel' discounts for customers who pay by prepayment meters and different suppliers may be the cheapest for prepayment electricity and prepayment gas.
Make sure that the comparison site you are using includes all the available tariffs.
Most comparison sites obtain commission from the prospective supplier and some comparison sites will only show the ones they obtain commission from. Check the one you are using shows all the tariffs available and watch for boxes to tick if you want to see all available tariffs.
If you do not have either the actual consumption figures available for the year or if you are unsure of your monthly energy costs, then a comparison can be done using an estimate of whether you are a low, medium or high user.
The table below shows how these correspond to typical situations and annual usage figures in kilowatt hours (kWh).
|Category of User||Low||Medium||High|
|Typical situation||Small flat||Large flat or medium house||Large house|
|Electricity/ year (kWh)||1,800||2,700||4,100|
No one supplier will be cheapest for all customers. The best deal for you will depend on many factors including:
Some useful questions to consider prior to changing supplier
If you are using a comparison site to change to a new supplier this can usually be done from their website and the only other action required by you would be to provide a meter reading at the time of changeover.
Alternatively, you can contact your chosen supplier and advise them that you want to change your supply to them. In this case the only other action required would be to provide a meter reading at the time of changeover.
You will be required to settle the outstanding bill with the old supplier based on the meter readings provided.
If you have substantial debt with your existing supplier they may block the transfer process. This should be discussed with your chosen supplier as it may still be possible to transfer to a new supplier.
Ensure you cancel any direct debit or standing order to your previous supplier after the transfer process has been concluded.
This whole process should take around 4-6 weeks to complete and your new supplier will be able to update you on progress. If you sign a contract but later change your mind there is a 7 day cooling off period in which you can cancel the contract without a penalty.
Home Energy Advice Team
Kilncraigs, Greenside Street, Alloa, FK10 1EB
Tel: 01259 450000