Can you cover your quarterly energy bills? - Gas and electricity - News - Moneyfacts

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Can you cover your quarterly energy bills?

Can you cover your quarterly energy bills?

Category: Gas and electricity

Updated: 11/04/2016
First Published: 11/04/2016

MONEYFACTS ARCHIVE
This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

It's the time of year when quarterly bills arrive for many households, but will your finances be able to cope? If you get a shock when you see the final tally – which could be even more likely following the winter months – it could be time to take action.

You could be paying too much

The first thing to realise about quarterly bills is that you could already be paying more than you need to. Figures from the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) show that those paying through traditional credit (i.e. quarterly bills) pay an average of £60 more a year for their electricity and around £58 more for their gas compared with those on a direct debit arrangement, with many providers offering generous discounts if you choose to pay monthly.

"Simply changing the billing method from quarterly to monthly could save £118 per year", said Mark Todd of energyhelpline.com, and this is before we even get to things like being more energy efficient and switching supplier to find a better deal. "We want to use this date in the calendar to encourage people to switch their method of payment as well as supplier," he added, and combining the two could pay dividends.

Cut your bills down to size

Figures show that around 25% of energy customers pay their energy bills quarterly, added Todd, which means these customers will be the hardest hit. That's why he's compiled a few top tips to help homeowners save on their energy, and many of them could apply to direct debit customers, too:

  • Compare suppliers often. The landscape can change regularly in the energy industry, with suppliers even offering new tariffs on a weekly basis.
  • Avoid standard deals. Make a note of your fixed tariff end dates and switch to another low-cost deal before they pass. This way, you can make sure you never pay extortionate standard variable rate prices, which could make a huge amount of difference to your yearly bills.
  • Pay monthly via direct debit. It's often possible to save over £100 a year simply by switching from a pay on receipt of bill tariff to a monthly direct debit deal, as suppliers typically offer their cheapest rates on this payment method.
  • Don't be afraid to go small. Small suppliers have revolutionised the energy industry and should be embraced if they can save you money. Many of the smaller companies are also offering the best customer service, according to consumer groups, so there is no need to stay loyal to a big supplier.

What next?

Compare gas and electricity tariffs to see if you can find a cheaper deal

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.

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