For many of us the thought of having to shop around for different energy tariffs can seem like a hassle, which is why many people choose to renew their contract with their existing company, rather than searching for a better deal.
However, you can compare tariffs quickly and easily using the internet and find great deals that could save you hundreds of pounds a year, so the time you spend searching for the best deal will really pay off.
How to find the best deals on energy tariffs
These days the best way to get lots of quotes quickly is to use a comparison website. Energy comparison sites will normally require a certain amount of information to provide quotes for you and if you want to get the most accurate results then make sure you enter all the information asked for correctly.
Most sites will need to know where you live, who your current supplier is and how much you pay for the energy you use each year. You can calculate the amount of energy you use each year by looking at your bills or contacting your supplier directly.
Once you’ve added all your information to a comparison site you’ll be offered a list of quotes from different energy companies that could be lower than the price you are currently paying.
However it’s always important to check each quote carefully to ensure you know exactly what is being offered and whether it is suitable for your needs.
Different types of tariff
It may be helpful if you decide what type of tariff you want before you look for quotes. If you choose a standard tariff you’ll be charged according to the price of energy at the time you are billed, which means the amount you pay can fluctuate. If you don’t choose a tariff when organising your energy supply you’ll automatically be put on a standard tariff.
If you choose a fixed tariff then you’ll pay the same each month even if the price of energy rises, meaning you make a saving on the amount you pay. However, if the price of energy drops you won’t benefit as you’ll still be required to pay the same. In most cases if you want to switch supplier before your contract runs out you will have to pay a fee.
Economy 7 and Economy 10 tariffs offer cheaper rates when you use energy at off peak times, but in most cases you’ll need to use at least 20% of your energy at night. If you choose this type of tariff then you won’t be able to switch to a supplier that doesn’t offer the service.
If you choose a green energy tariff then a proportion of the money you spend will help to fund eco projects, effectively offsetting the carbon footprint you produce. However, a green energy tariff does not mean that the energy you use will come from renewable resources. If you choose a green energy tariff you should be able to find out what type of projects your money is going towards.
Social tariffs are offered to those who may find it difficult to pay energy bills and are offered at a lower than average rate. In order to qualify for social energy then your gas and electricity bills have to account for more than 10% of your total household income.
If you want to find out if you qualify you’ll need to know how much you are spending on energy every year. You can get help from your local social security office if you need to apply for a social energy tariff.
Some homes use a pay as you go system to supply energy and this is usually done by topping up a token, key or card which is then placed in your meter. This is generally considered to be the most expensive way of paying for energy, but can be useful if you find it hard to keep track of what you are spending.
Smart meters are one of the latest energy saving innovations that are becoming widely used in homes. In basic terms, a smart meter will allow you to clearly see how much energy you are using and how much it is costing you. Studies have found that households who are aware of how much they are spending are much more likely to reduce their energy usage.
Switching energy suppliers
If you want to switch energy suppliers then you need to make sure you inform your current company. When you’ve chosen the supplier you want you can switch over the phone or online, but make sure you have all the details of your current contract to hand including your address, the name of your current supplier and whether you are paying for gas, electricity or both. Comparison sites can also help you with a great deal of the paperwork in many cases.
There are hundreds of companies out there all vying for your business, which means switching to a new provider is much easier than it was a few years ago. However, it can still take a few weeks until your supply is switched, so make sure you don’t end your contract with your current supplier until your new one is ready.Back to top