Notice Board


Notice Board

Cut your electricity and gas bills

09 March 2012

If you have an email account and internet access you will be able to save money on your energy bills by moving to an online tariff and paying by direct debit.

  • It may be possible to use the computer at your local library/childrens centre if you don't have the internet at home.
  • Check for the cheapest deals by using a price comparison site.
  • If you are happy with your current supplier, the quickest way to reduce costs is to move to their cheapest tariff.
  • The cheapest tariffs are dual fuel, direct debit, on-line paperless billing.

If you don't want to use an online tariff check if you can get your suppliers social tariff.

  • If you aren't eligible for this, check if there is a cheaper supplier or tariff you could switch to.
  • Paying by Direct Debit rather than on receipt of bill will save money.

Take your own meter readings and make sure your bills are based on actual readings rather than estimated readings.

  • If you have a disability or are a pensioner, you can get help from your supplier to read the meter.  Ring them and ask about the Priority Service Register.
  • If your gas and electricity meters aren't read regularly, bills based on estimated readings mean you could end up paying for more gas or electricity than you actually use, or you might be paying for less than you are using and then get a large bill to pay.

If you have a prepayment meter (and owe your supplier less than £200) you can still switch suppliers.

  • Check gas and electricity deals separately on the price comparison sites as dual fuel deals will not always give you the best prepayment meter deal.
  • Ebico is a not for profit supplier who may be able to offer you a better deal as they charge all customers the same rates regardless of payment method.  They can be contacted on 0800 458 7689.
  • If you could pay by direct debit it may be worth asking your supplier about replacing the prepayment meter with a credit meter.

Check if there is any help you could get to make your home more energy efficient.

  • The Energy Saving Trust on 0800 512 512 will tell you about any grants available.
  • Wiltshire Council has a Home Energy Efficiency Officer who can give advice on Energy Efficiency and Grant Telephone: 0300 456 0100.

Can you be more energy efficient and reduce your own energy use?

Using a price comparison site to cut your electricity and gas bills.

You can find the cheapest tariff by using a price comparison site. You can use the internet or phone them.  These independent price comparison sites help thousands of households every month to compare prices and switch to better deals. They offer a comprehensive service that compares your current supplier's tariffs and usage with those of all the major suppliers. They help you find the best deal and provide you with a free and easy-to-use switching service whether you have a credit or a pre-payment meter.  Sites accredited by Consumer Focus include:-

Which? Switch or 0199 282 2867

MoneySupermarket.com or 0845 345 1296

Confused.com

energyhelpline.com or 0800 074 0745

uSwitch.com or 0800 404 7918

SimplySwitch or 0800 111 395

 

To use these sites you will need to have the following information ready:-

  • Your postcode
  • The name of your current supplier
  • The tariff you are on (e.g. Standard Dual Fuel)
  • Your annual energy usage or costs.  Suppliers now have to send you an annual statement with this information.  If you keep this statement this information can be used to give you an accurate comparison.

If you are happy with your current supplier:-

You can use a price comparison site or ring your supplier to check if they have introduced a cheaper tariff. Make sure the terms and payment methods suit you.  Contact your supplier with your meter readings (or use their website) and ask to move onto this tariff.  This move should take effect from the date you requested it.

If you do decide to switch supplier:-

  • First check if your current tariff has any cancellation charges or is due to have an annual or quarterly discount applied to your account.
  • Get in touch with the new supplier, make sure you are happy with the contract terms, then sign the new deal with them.
  • Give your new supplier a meter reading on the day you change supplier (its worth keeping this)
  • Pay the final bill from your old supplier.

The new supplier will manage the switch for you and this takes about 6-8 weeks.  If after signing the new contract you are unhappy about this decision, you have up to 7 working days to cancel the contract.  Do check that both the new and old suppliers use your meter readings on their bills.  Keep the new contract terms.

It's worth checking the price comparison sites at least once a year to make sure you still have a good deal on your gas and electricity.

Paying by Direct Debit will save money compared to paying by cheque or cash.

If you have an email account and internet access you will be able to save money on your energy bills by moving to an online tariff.  It is possible to use the computer at your local library, if you don't have the internet at home.

With an on-line tariff the supplier emails you for a meter reading which you input on the suppliers website.  This means your bills will be based on actual readings rather than an estimate from your supplier.

When the bill is ready, your supplier won't post it to you.  You have to log onto the suppliers website and can view/print it from there.

For the cheapest on-line tariffs you pay monthly by direct debit.

If you are concerned about possible future price increases, it may be worth considering a fixed price tariff.

This table shows typical current dual fuel annual costs for medium energy use (i.e. 3 bedroomed house with 3 or 4 people living there, the house is empty most days but occupied most evenings and weekends).  If you fit into this medium category you will be using around 16,500 kWhs of gas and 3,300 kWhs of electricity a year.

Tariff                                                                                    Cost                    Saving

                                                                                              £                         £

Prepayment Meter Tariff                                                      1260

Pay on receipt of bill quarterly by Cash or Cheque              1260

Pay monthly by Direct Debit                                                1140                     120

Online billing pay by Direct Debit                                        1050                    210

If your energy use is low, you'll be using around 2,100 KWhs of electricity and 11,000 KWhs of gas a year, with the cheapest tariffs costing around £700.

If your energy use is high, you'll be using around 5,100 KWhs of electricity and 23,000 KWhs of gas a year, with the cheapest tariffs costing around £1400.

Keep and check the contract terms of your new deal as some have a fixed term or the tariff may change on a set date.  Many of the cheapest tariffs have a deal which runs for a specified time after which you will be moved onto another (usually more expensive) tariff.  So put this date in your diary and make sure you do another comparison check on this date.