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Compare the Best Gas and Electricity Prices

Jun 26, 2020 | Energy

gas and electricity price increase

Compare the Best Gas and Electricity Prices

Have you tried to use an energy comparison tool in the past? If not, you could be missing out on some major savings. Using an energy comparison tool is fast and easy. And you’ll know you have the best energy deals that fit your budget.

All that’s needed to do a price comparison is your address, and then you’ll need to answer a few easy questions about your current supplier. And now is a great time to consider switching energy suppliers. Energy prices are at an all-time low.

Switching doesn’t involve direct contact with the company—no one will come to your home, and you don’t have to worry about your energy being cut off during the change of providers. Plus, using an energy comparison tool is free! You have much to gain by at least checking to see if you can get a better energy deal.

An energy comparison site can help you find the best gas and electricity deals in your postcode – and it only takes a few minutes. Why not look to see if you might be able to save hundreds of pounds per year by switching energy suppliers. You can comparison shop before your current contract runs out.

It never hurts to see how much you might be able to save by switching. Comparison shopping is great if your contract is about to end, or if you’ve had the same contract for a while.


How to Choose an Online Energy Comparison Site

There are many energy comparison sites around, but how you can make sure you to use a reputable site? Look for comparison sites that are Ofgem accredited – this way you’ll be assured of getting a good deal.

Ofgem (the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) is a government regulator of gas and electricity markets in Great Britain. Ofgem provides accreditation of comparison sites they’ve determined are reputable and that comply with the “The Confidence Code”, which is Ofgem’s code of practice, which works to guarantee quotes that are provided on the comparison sites are calculated in a manner that’s impartial.


Why Should I Switch Energy Suppliers?

Many households, about 15 million, in the UK may be paying too much for their gas and electricity. The reason is because they’re on standard tariffs (SVT), default tariffs, which are very expensive. If you’ve joined your energy provided on a fixed tariff, and later your contract ends, it’s common to be switched to the energy provider’s SVT. This often leads to an increase in your energy bills. If it’s been 12-18 months since you last checked your tariff, it’s a good idea to see if you could lower your bills by switching energy suppliers and getting onto a better tariff.


Do I Need Any Paperwork for the Comparison?

You’ll need your address and postcodes and having your most recent energy bills on hand will also help you get better results. This way you’ll be able to see how much you’re paying, and then put this amount in the comparison tool. This will give you more accurate results.

Additional information on your bill that could also help:

  • The current energy company you’re with
  • How you pay your monthly bill: monthly direct debit, quarterly, cash or cheque, etc.
  • How much you pay

It’s still possible to run an energy comparison even if you don’t have this information. Just be sure to have your postcode so you can check on regional differences in prices.

And if you don’t know much you usually pay, that’s OK. In that case, you may be asked some questions about how and when you most often use energy.


What’s the Best Tariff for Me?

When you use the tool, it will show you a number of different prices and suppliers, so you can find the best energy deal. Here are is some jargon you may find when it comes to the various tariffs:

Fixed tariffs: this is a tariff that’s set at a fixed rate for a set contract term. The term maybe 12-24 months. During this time, it’s impossible to leave the contract without paying a penalty fee. However, the amount you agreed to pay for your energy will not change during this time, so you won’t have to worry about fluctuating energy prices. These are usually the cheaper option in the long-term and make it much easier to manage your budget. This is because, during the contract term, you always know how much your energy bills will be.

Standard variable tariffs/SVTs: this is a somewhat looser type of contract, and the prices may vary with the fluctuation of global energy prices as they go up and down. If your contract ends, many providers simply move you to their SVT tariff, meaning you may end up paying more for your energy, even though there may be cheaper rates with other tariffs or providers. And the SVT makes it much harder to plan your budget, as energy prices can vary from month-to-month.

Multi-rate tariffs: this type of tariff lets you pay less for energy that’s used at night. These are a great option for those who work night shifts and aren’t at home using too much energy.

Prepayment tariffs: these usually run on a meter, and you’ll need to pay upfront for your energy usage and may need topping up as you use more. These are usually one of the most expensive tariffs.

Green tariffs: these tariffs use energy from renewable sources. These may cost more, but remember the energy comes from renewable sources. Be sure to check to make sure the company is 100% renewable (if this is the type of energy you prefer), because some companies may also offer a percentage of renewable energy sources for gas and/or electric. This means they will offer some percentage of energy from renewable sources, and some from other sources (not renewable).

Duel-fuel tariffs: this is a type of tariff where you receive gas and electricity from one provider. This is the most commonly required tariff for homeowners. However, there are new build properties that only use electricity, and these will need a single fuel tariff.


Are There Any Hidden Costs When Using Energy Comparison Tools?

No, the energy comparison site should be free and comply with Ofgem’s Confidence Code. As long as the energy comparison site/tool is free and is accredited by the Confidence Code, there should be no hidden costs from using the service and switching to a new energy supplier. And you can rest assured that the prices and options displayed have been fairly calculated and are impartial.

There is one thing to watch for, though, and these are “unlimited” energy deals. Some energy companies offer unlimited energy plans, where the supplier fixes the cost. The problem is that the price is the same, no matter how much energy has been used. So, these tariffs can be more expensive than other tariffs, plus they may have additional requirements, such as installing a smart meter.


How Do Energy Comparison Sites Make Money?

These sites make a commission from the new energy supplier when a customer chooses to make a switch. In this way, the service if free for customers, and it allows energy providers to promote their best deals to customers all in one place. You have the chance to compare energy suppliers and their tariffs in one place, rather than having to comb the Internet for prices.

And there’s more! Energy comparison sites are able to negotiate better deals with energy suppliers, so you can save money on exclusive deals.

Another bonus is that energy comparison sites keep their data current with all the deals from every energy supplier. As tariffs change, these are updated automatically in the database, so you always have the most current pricing information. And you’ll also find deals from energy suppliers that the comparison site can’t automatically switch you to. As a result, it’s always a good idea to check to make sure your search results have been filtered to show all plans. You can still switch, but you’ll need to contact the supplier and make the arrangements yourself.


How Long Does It Take to Switch Suppliers?

The Energy Switch Guarantee ensures that suppliers who use them have to switch you within 21 days. And some energy suppliers can make the switch soon than that, too.

If you choose a supplier who isn’t signed up with the comparison site, they will have to switch you over in 4 to 6 weeks. This will need to be managed by the supplier, meaning you won’t have to do anything else.


Will My Gas or Electricity Supply Be Interrupted?

No, you will not experience any interruption in your electricity or gas services when you switch energy providers. This process doesn’t involve changes in wiring or pipes, so your energy will come through as normal.


Will I Need to Change My Direct Debit?

Yes, it will be necessary to cancel the direct debit with your current energy supplier once the switch has taken place, and you have paid any outstanding charges.


Do I Need to Contact My Current Energy Supplier?

If you use an energy comparison tool/site, then they will contact your current provider for you. All you need to do is take meter readings on the day of the switch. This is just in case of any disputes that may come up over usage of energy around the time of the switch.

You will, however, need to contact your current energy supplier to cancel your direct debits.


I Rent – Can I Still Switch Energy Providers?

It depends. If your landlord pays the energy bills, then you cannot switch energy providers. However, if you pay the energy bills, then you are allowed to switch.

Be sure to check your tenancy agreement—your landlord may prefer that you stay with a particular energy provider.


Can I Switch Energy Providers If I Owe Money?

Yes, if you owe less than £500 to the current provider, and you’re on a prepayment meter, you can switch providers. However, in that case, it may be more difficult to be accepted by the new supplier.


When Is the Best Time to Switch Energy Providers?

The best time to make the switch is before winter. This is because, during the colder months, energy rates on standard tariffs usually increase. For this reason, it’s best to switch in the summer. This way you’ll have a better deal before the cold weather hits.

It’s also a good idea to make the switch before your current fixed tariff ends. This is because the switch can take up to three weeks. If you don’t initiate the switch about three weeks before the tariff ends, you could be stuck paying an expensive standard tariff until the switch is done.

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