As we come to the end of a long and very cold winter, we will all start to worry about the energy bills as they come in. There is a very good chance they will be significantly higher than they were last year and in some cases we might even decide that it is time to find a new supplier in a bid to cut the cost.
In this age of the internet it should be a fairly simple process to change your supplier, and doesn't have to involve a complete stranger standing on your step, implying you are a fool not to take him up on his “amazing” offer. We can all take responsibility for our own energy supply and easily do the research ourselves.
This is probably the easiest way to find the best deals. Simply put in your details and the results of your last energy bill and it will come up with a list of the costs should you move. Many sites will also give details of any extras you might get such as cashback or even cases of wine. Getting electricity and gas together is usually cheaper than having them separate.
A comparison site will judge your needs by determining if you are high, med or low energy user. This ranges in cost from £21 (low) to £75 (high) per month. Using this and your general consumption they will work out the best option for you.
Always use a comparison site which is part of the Consumer Focus Confidence Code. They are required to give detailed price comparisons and can offer reassurance for the consumer.
Do your own research
Energy suppliers all have their own websites and can be contacted via the telephone. They will give information over the phone regarding which of their options is best for you. At times the websites can be complicated, with many different packages available, so do your research to ensure it really is the best deal.
Once you have decided
When you know which supplier you are going to go with you need to agree your contract.
You will need to give your old supplier 28 days notice of your intention to change. Sometimes the new supplier will take care of this. Be prepared for them to make you a counter offer or encourage you to change your mind in some way. As long as you are sure, stick to your guns.
You must clear up any old bills with your old supplier.
Take a meter reading on the day you change supplier and keep a record of it. Check it against your final bill and when you get your first bill from the new supplier.
In general it is usually cheaper to manage your bills online and to pay by direct debit.
Don't forget if you buy over the doorstep
The information you receive during the sales process must be accurate and clear.
You must receive a written estimate before you agree to anything and it should be based on your current usage.
You must receive a copy of the contract and an explanation of what happens next.
You have 14 days to change your mind.