How To Take Charge of Your Energy Bills

So at last Ofgem has called a full investigation into the energy market. Taken a new leader to do it. The Guardian has written a good article about the whys and wherefores of this investigation here . For this post though I don’t want to debate the history, reasons and politics, I just want to show you the importance for, and ease with which, you can and should look at switching your supplier on a regular basis.

The consumer has to take some responsibility. I don’t mean for the hikes and the apparent huge profits that the big 6 make. I mean to be proactive and take a short time to look for a lower price. If more of us did this then perhaps there would be some more competition and less complacency in the energy market. For those of you who don’t just let your car or house insurance renew each year, it is the same principle. If you do just let your house and car insurance just renew let me tell you it is costing you hundreds of pounds a year. Never has a renewal been the cheapest quote for me in over 25 years of driving and only once for the house!

Why Switch?
Because you would be daft not to do so. If you haven’t switched for many years, chances are you are paying way over the odds for your energy. You’ll be on a standard tariff the most expensive you can have. The company you are currently with will have had other offers, fixed tariffs, promotions etc., and you have missed them all, to say nothing of the other companies.

I look to switch every year and think there was only one year when I didn’t change and that was a tariff where I was informed by the company if they could put me on a cheaper tariff. That offer was only on for a few weeks. The benefits of signing up to Martin Lewis’ website‘s emails, you get to know this stuff and make sure you are with everyone else who is first in the queue as often these deals are limited to the fist xx thousand.

Is It difficult?
Not really. Since 2010 energy companies have to send you an annual statement which will have all the information you need, i.e. consumption over the year. Even if you don’t have this you can still use the information from old bills. You can usually sign up to look at your account online, so you can also use that if you don’t keep your paper statements. Go to any of the switch sites, type into your favourite search engine “Switching energy” suppliers and take your pick. Always worth checking more than one. However, this is where the brilliant Money Saving Expert website is great again. Now, go to that link. That will take you painlessly through comparing prices. Name, address, postcode and consumption and away you go. Remember that just because your mate 200 miles away uses the same amount of energy as you, it does not follow that you should have the same energy supplier.

Then sign up for the email on that page. You can set a minimum for how much you want to save a year before switching and you will automatically get an email telling you that you  could save this amount and to look at switching. Excellent. So you can switch and forget about it. Some clever technological whatsit will continually check switching for you.

Then, use more than one switching site such as uSwitch which is probably the most used site. It also covers every other type of insurance. It also provides notification if you could save at anytime.

Can you make make further savings?
Sometimes. Remember paying by direct debit, same supplier for gas and electricity will also bring the price down.

Armed with the information from searching the switch sites through Martin’s site (although strictly speaking he sold it didn’t he?!) then look at cashback sites. The best is Topcashback (Trust me I’ve been using cashback sites for years). Occasionally you can get some cashback but going through another switch site and getting the same offer and then also try direct as the supplier may offer a cashback after three months.

What if you have no Internet access?
Well you do have access, clearly! Of course you may know someone who doesn’t but I would hope that if you care that much you would look up on the Internet for them! (One can look at changing using other methods but they would annoy me I have to say but then I’m anti social.) More details here about how and when you can change your mind and what to expect from the company. (This is particularly relevant for a company you’ve invited into your home etc.)

What else do you need to know?
It takes flipping ages. Most commonly 6 – 8 weeks. So now is the perfect time to be looking to switch. (The companies may not be allowed to raise prices but there will be offers and if you haven’t switched recently you will more than likely be able to make a saving.) Remember switching in December isn’t the best time, by the time it has all gone through the most expensive part of the year has gone.

You may be on, or choose a fixed tariff which may have early exit fees. It is still possible that it will be cheaper to pay this fee and switch. I truly believe that very few companies and certainly none of the big 6, have consumers at their heart. They have profits! Therefore, trying to make it look attractive not to switch, taking 6 – 8 weeks to administer the switch and not informing us of better tariffs they provide are all ways of keeping our custom and prices high. Let’s hope the investigation brings some changes.

Also a cautionary note on the switch sites – make sure you check that you want to see all the deals. More information about his here on the Financial Times website.

Masses of information about energy in the book. And if your gas is cut off here’s an article I wrote last year to help with redress!

 

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7 Responses to How To Take Charge of Your Energy Bills

  1. Pingback: The Complaining Cow and Rip Off Britain

  2. Karen Stewart says:

    Great advice Helen and I can say that working for an energy supplier, we are working hard to reduce the time it takes to switch and have already made some significant improvements.

  3. Dear Helen Dewdney,

    Could you please help to expose this outrageous extraction of £8 billion/ year, from the supply of Domestic Energy by the big six.

    I put my SSE bill four years ago under the microscope.

    Established SSE take all component parts of the bill, then factor in 6% under Looking after our customers.

    Calculation indicated this 6% ‘extracted in the region of an additional £1 Billion pounds/ year.

    Stayed with SSE, to ‘fight’ from within to no avail for a further year

    Selected E.on as an alternative supplier, on receipt of the first Bill, was ‘incandescent’ with rage when I ‘discovered’ E.on factored in 15.00% ( Then 15.2% now) of the total bill ( excluding vat)
    This outrageous 15.00% extra charge, was not listed on their web site.
    Complained to E.on, the response was, if you don’t like how we bill you, just leave we will waive the leaving fee,, .I left, and chose OVO supply my energy without the 6% AND 15.00% outrageous ‘add on’ factored in!

    Calculation indicated £1.4 Billion additional revenue is ‘extracted’ year on year with this Unique Billing System.

    Verifiable proof of this extraction is available, SSE & E.on ( Assume the ‘big four’ use the same / similar system) & extract collectively about £8 billion/year additional revenue, from the supply of Domestic Energy!

    Kind regards

    Anthony Porritt ( YO167JH 84) M 07963199454.

    • The Complaining Cow says:

      It is not an additional charge. When getting quotes when comparing providers it is all calculated in the costs. Therefore they are not in breach of any laws or Ofgem guidelines. The breakdown of costs is justbadditional information.

  4. Dear Helen

    Thank you for your reply regarding SSE ‘s Domestic Energy Billing System

    I have now put a previous E.on Domestic Energy Bill under the microscope, this is extractionis more outrageous
    than my previous post regarding SSE.

    My findings are below, which in my view clearly and unequivocally, verify that the bill is in my view
    far from legal

    What you Pay

    E.ON COST BREAKDOWN OF £100.00 ( Excluding VAT)
    Cost to buy energy £45.30
    Getting energy to customers £25.40
    Helping ‘needy’ customers £3.60
    Supporting cleaner energy £6.10
    E.on profit £4.40

    Sub total £84.80

    Looking after our customers £15.20

    Total £100.00 ( excluding vat)

    Can it be lawful E.on add £15.20 to a bill where the customer pays all component parts totaling £84.80
    which should include vat at 5% = £4.24 however the £15.20 increases the bill to £100.00 plus 5% Vat
    increasing the vat to £5.00 which in my view with in the region of 6 million reported customer’s
    extracts on vat alone additional £0.76p per £100.00 paid by the consumer!, extracting additonal countless millions of pounds from Domestic Energy consumers

    NB ( My previous post SSE have a ‘similar system’ which includes VAT, but ‘only’ inflate the bill by 6%) !

    This cannot be lawful / acceptable, and must be ‘exposed’

    URL
    Where does our customers’ money go? | Understanding your bill – E.ON

    Kind regards

    Anthony Porritt

  5. Eon New Domestic Energy supply Costing Update

    E.ON New COST BREAKDOWN OF £100.00 ( Excluding VAT) Discovered on 15 September 2017

    * Now indicates 15 September 2017
    Cost to buy energy £45.30 now £40.40 * Reduction of £4.90p

    Getting energy to customers £25.40 now £27.00 * Increase of £1.60
    Helping ‘needy’ customers £3.60 now £3.40 * Decrease of £0.20p
    Supporting cleaner energy £6.10 now £7.00 * Increase of £0.90p
    Looking after our customers £15.20 now £15.70 * Increase of £0.50p
    E.on profit £4.40 now £6.80 * Increase of £2.40***

    ***54.5% profit increase!

    Based on the new figures above, to note that Eon now buy the energy for a £4.90 reduction, increase the
    getting energy to the consumer by £1.60, Increase supporting cleaner energy, £0.20p
    Increase Eon profit by an additional incredible £2.40, just beggars belief!

    These verifiable figures clearly indicate that the ‘new billing’ will raise an additional £5.20 per £100.00
    (excluding vat)

    So Eon will now extract in the region of ( On top of the £1.4 Billion/year)

    £5.50 per £100.00 x reported dual fuel average or £1280.00 = £5.20 x 12.8 = £66.56 per Eon customer.

    So based on these figures in a 7 day period Eon have increased the known £1.4 billion/ additional revenue extracted, with a new figure of 7 million customers x the increased amount of £66.56/year

    Is an incredible further + _ £465.92Million pounds! ( So Eon will extract about £1.9 billion pounds/ year, with the ‘new’ billing system!
    additional income?

    Previous best estimate was £26.9 Million/ week, new 12 month forecast:from 7 million customers at least £36.54 million/ week!

    In closing I am unable to calculate how much in favour of Eon, with the new buying the energy price reduction was £45.30 now £40.40 !

    Can Eon Justify the ‘new’ self awarded increase of £2.40 profit per hundred, to be paid by the consumer!

    I also note that the Standing Charge of about £100.00 per customer per fuel used, is noticeably ‘missing from the old and new Eon percentage costing! Transparency who is kidding whoom in the necessary supply of Domestic Energy LOL, However it is no laughing matter, when people in this country in the winter months have to choose|: Heat or Eat!

    7 million reported customer’s so at the very least: 7 million x £100.00 = 700 Hundred million pounds, probably more but we do not know how many are ‘dual fuel’ customers!

    So transparency/ Trust, still not available to the hard pressed millions, it appears based on this latest old /new comparison, Eon, can change the figures at will, buy the blasted energy at a reduced cost, then inflate the bill as described in detail above, with absolute impunity!

    Question if a Domestic Energy supplier buys the energy at a lower cost , should this saving be reflected in a reduced Domestic Energy Bill, well no with Ofgem. Gemma and the Chief Ombudsman
    protecting the Big Six, no Eon raise the Domestic Energy supply additional extraction!! Just beggars belief!!

    In the unlikely event someone other than Ofgem Gema, The Chief Ombudsman with an ounce of caring for his fellow human beings, Consumer TV Program maker, Watchdog, Rip Off Britain, ( All of the above have been contacted to no avail)
    the URL of Eon,s old and new costing can be forwarded by request

    Yours sincerely

    Anthony Porritt

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