Problems with your energy bill? With our advices, find out how to deal with price increases by comparing the different energy offers. Do you think you are overloaded by your supplier, but are not sure? Well, follow the tips in the article and you will avoid being overburdened by your supplier.
Tip # 1: read your energy meter
It seems trivial to say it, but the best way to be overloaded by the supplier is to not do the self-reading, but to let the supplier make estimates on our energy traffic. In fact, estimating your energy bills offers suppliers all the possibilities to overcharge you, and even to charge you in advance for energy that you have not yet used.
So, the # 1 tool to stop estimated billing is to read the meter regularly and update the supplier. For normal meters, read the numbers on the meter and write down all the numbers except those highlighted in red. Most large suppliers (British Gas, EON Energy, EDF and npower) allow you to send meter readings online or using apps for smartphones. Those who are equipped with the latest generation smart meters do not have to worry about the estimated billing, since the energy supplier monitors your use exactly and invoices the correct sum accordingly. By 2025, every home in the UK will need to be equipped with a smart meter.
Tip # 2 Stop the exit fees
Exit fees (also called cancellation fees) are used by energy suppliers to keep you with them for a fixed duration of the service, and it works just like a mortgage penalty. Usually applied to fixed tariffs, they can however also be applied to variable tariffs; they allow suppliers to guarantee a fixed number of customers for the duration of a plan, so that they can calculate the amount to be charged on that plan to make it competitive and profitable. However, exit fees limit options when it comes to passing, particularly during a drop in prices. Always take into account, when signing an energy contract, the exit costs. It is not said, in fact, that a plan with an exit commission is necessarily worse than a similar plan without cancellation costs; in the long run, it may also be a better choice, even if it seems more expensive at present. For your convenience, we remind you that energy companies are not allowed to charge exit fees or other financial penalties in the event of price increases. So if that happens, you should complain.
Tip # 3 Compare offers
Another safe way to be overloaded by the energy supplier is to avoid comparing the offers and thus giving up the switch to other suppliers. Of course, suppliers are sure to rely on those “historical” users, that is, customers who are not looking for cheaper markets, even if their prices are going up. That said, it is possible that a user is loaded more than another with an identical house, only because it is part of a “standard” plan, predefined by the supplier, which normally has higher costs than those such as dual-fuel or online. So, do not lose the habit of making comparisons periodically (let’s say every 2 years at least) in order not to pay too much energy.
Tip # 4 Change the supplier often
According to the latest data from the Energy Switch Guarantee (March 2019), over half (52%) of households in the United Kingdom have not changed their energy supply in the past four years. Many think that changing the energy supplier is a complex process, and that in the end it will cost even more, but it is not the truth. Of those who changed their energy supply, around 83% said they found the process easy. Only 2 things are needed: a copy of your latest bill and the post code. The best way to compare offers is first of all to identify the annual consumption in kWh, which is not always easy to find on the energy bill.
Tip #5 Always complain, if you get a huge bill
If you think that the energy supplier is overloading you, or if you receive a particularly expensive invoice, it is better to contact your supplier for information. The Ofgem energy regulator forces suppliers to ascertain the complaint, but if you do not receive a response within eight weeks, you can file a complaint with the Energy Ombudsman, who will review the dispute.