Winter is fast approaching and it’s getting colder, which means one thing, the radiators are being turned back on! You’re bound to have seen all the controversy in the media surrounding the energy hikes, but what does this mean for you? As the nights get darker and we are using a lot more gas and electric, now’s the time to review the amount you are spending. Are you spending too much? Is it time you swapped provider?
The increase in energy prices are causing consumers to look around for better deals and ultimately switching providers in a bid to get better rates. According to Energy UK, the number of people who are switching energy supplier has increased by 11% from September 2017 to October 2017. This month (October 2017), saw around 612,000 customers switching their electrical supplier compared to the 551,000 that did in the previous month. The trade body announced that the total number of customers who have changed supplier this year is more than 4.5million, stating that 95% of customers that did switch were happy with the process.
It becomes even more apparent from the number of people who have switched this year that customers are not tolerating price hikes and are actively looking around for better deals when it comes to renewing their energy. A good way of telling whether you’re paying too much is to talk to friends and family. Speak to them about what they pay and compare with your own.
Why have there been all the price hikes? This is the question that most people want answering. Some of the UK’s biggest energy suppliers have said that the reason prices have hiked is due to the increase of wholesale purchasing, the installation of smart meters and other external factors. It appears that the increase in costs to the supplier is hitting the average energy bill, proving a strain on the UK consumer.
With this price increase, you’re probably wondering whether the big suppliers are seeing an improvement in their profits. Well according to energy regulator Ofgem, the big six suppliers’ profit margins have increased to an average of 4.5% in 2016 and saw profits of £1bn despite losing millions of customers to other competition! So how can you stay one step ahead of the game? Read our blog post below to find out whether you should switch and how you can save on your energy bills.
What energy tariffs are available?
There are many different options available when looking at energy tariffs, but here are a few of the more common contracts.
If you want to keep your gas and electric under the same roof, then a dual-fuel tariff could be a good option for you. Sometimes energy providers offer a discount to keep the two energy tariffs together.
Fixed-price energy tariffs
These tariffs guarantee the price you pay for your energy over a certain period of time. This is a good option if you want peace of mind and protection from potentially increasing prices.
A standard also known as a variable tariff is one of the more common tariffs. The cost of these tariffs change dependant on whether the supplier changes its rates. This type of tariff can be beneficial if prices within the market are cheaper as your bill is likely to reduce, however it can be a risk if prices rise.
Is your region switch savy?
A recent survey by Which? has highlighted which regions are most likely to have switched energy supplier. People in Yorkshire and North West England are more likely to have switched energy supplier where as people in North Scotland were the least likely to have switched with 30% saying they stuck with the same energy firm and never made the switch.
The table below shows the percentage of customers who have never switched energy supplier in each region. Have a look where your region came in the table below.
|Region||Customers who have never switched energy supplier|
|South West England||15%|
|South East England||15%|
|North East England||14%|
|East of England||14%|
|Merseyside and North Wales||11%|
|North West England||9%|
Is anything going to be done about hiking prices?
Campaigners are calling on the government to increase the amount they’re doing to prevent energy prices from rising. During the general election, Theresa May pledged for a price cap on energy bills for British households.
Theresa May is planning to cap energy bills for UK households, which could save you £100 a year! The idea to limit rocketing prices featured in the Conservatives election manifesto but further details are yet to be announced.
What can you do to save money on your energy bill?
If you’ve recently received your energy bill you may be thinking about ways to reduce your energy usage and save money on your bill. Follow our steps below to help you save money on your energy bill.
1. Compare, compare and compare
Give yourself some time to have a look at price comparison sites to see whether or not you are paying too much for your utility bills. Make sure you have your documents to hand, so you can ensure a like for like comparison. Some energy companies may offer cashback deals if you switch which is another bonus! www.topcashback.co.uk have a list of different energy suppliers and the types of cash back deals that they offer when you switch. Most of the large energy suppliers feature in this list so you can make the decision as to which one to go for. For more information around cash back, click here.
2. Don’t be put off by switching
If you can find a better deal elsewhere, then why not Switch? You’ll probably want to double check all the information on your current tariff to ensure that its replicated on your new one. This will give you peace of mind knowing the new tariff is exactly the same. If you do decide to look elsewhere for a new energy supplier, you’ll need to have the following information ready:
- Your postcode
- The current name of your provider and the details of your current tariff. You can find these details on your latest bill
- The amount of energy you use, for example look at your Kilowatt hours (KWH) on your gas or electricity bills. Or you could refer to your annual energy statement
- You’ll also need you bank details as a payment will need setting up
Once you have switched over, your new supplier will contact your old supplier and agree a switch over date so your energy supply will not be interrupted. Therefore, you won’t need to do anything!
3. Less is more
If you are finding you’re using too much energy, then follow these quick steps to save:
- Turn the thermostat down – The Money Advice service suggests reducing the temperate by 1°c could cut 10% off your heating bill! Surely that’s worth doing?
- Make the most of your washing loads – Fill your dishwasher and washing machine as much as possible. One wash its better than two and only use your tumble dryer when absolutely necessary. If a 2400-watt tumble dryer is running for an hour it would cost 35p! Which is £85.80 a year!*
- Energy saving lightbulbs – how many ordinary bulbs do you have in your house, if it’s a lot you may be able to save yourself some money by investing in energy saving lightbulbs. Energy efficient lightbulbs can use 25-80% less energy than standard bulbs and they can last 3-25 times longer meaning you’re using less energy and saving money!