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How to get the best deal for your energy

How to get the best deal for your energy

Category: Gas and electricity

Updated: 03/02/2015
First Published: 22/01/2015

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 It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

The energy market may be buzzing with excitement given the spate of price reductions recently announced – with more are expected any time now – but that doesn't mean you should rest on your laurels. Why settle for making around £40 in savings by staying put, when you could potentially save hundreds by following these few simple tips?

Cut your bills down to size

  • Fix and save. If you're on a standard or variable rate tariff, it's time to make a change! You could easily save hundreds of pounds by making the move to a fixed deal, particularly if you've never switched before, and with many fixed rate tariffs clocking in at less than £1,000 per year, it could be far cheaper. You'll also have the added benefit of knowing exactly how much you're going to pay, giving you peace of mind to know your budget isn't going to be stretched with a higher-than-expected bill.
  • Compare the options. Your supplier won't always tell you if you could make savings on a different tariff – the onus is squarely on you to do your research. So, get comparing! Whether you want to stay with your current supplier or are tempted to go elsewhere, make sure to compare tariffs regularly so you know if you're still on the best deal.
  • Know your contract dates. If you're locked into a fixed tariff, it's important to be aware of your contract end dates, as it gives you advance warning to start comparing the options and switch if necessary. You don't have to wait until the last minute, either – you've got a six-week switching window prior to the expiry of your current tariff that allows you to switch to a new deal without being charged exit fees, which potentially gives you six weeks of cheaper energy, too.
  • Change how you pay. Something as simple as changing the way you pay for your energy could drastically reduce the end price. Paying by direct debit is usually the cheapest method, so if you're paying quarterly, annually or on a pre-payment meter, consider setting up a direct debit to make some great savings.
  • Be proactive. Don't always wait for your supplier to ask you for meter readings, and certainly don't put up with estimates – if you supply them with accurate readings yourself, you can ensure you're paying the right amount. Think about changing the way you receive bills, too, as in some cases, opting for paperless statements (for example) can result in lower costs.
  • Don't always go for the big boys. It may be tempting to stick with energy suppliers you've heard of for years, but the Big Six don't always offer the best prices. In fact, some of the cheapest tariffs available are from smaller, independent suppliers – and they're often known for providing better service, too – so it could be time to make a dramatic change and try something new.

Don't be complacent!

Remember, loyalty will get you nowhere in this market, and nor will being complacent. You could save hundreds of pounds by switching provider, particularly if you go from a standard tariff to a fixed rate – figures from energyhelpline.com show that you could save up to £405 by making the switch – and even something as simple as changing the way you pay your bills could shave pounds off your outgoings.

So, don't be drawn into the hype of energy suppliers cutting their rates – you could save far more by being proactive and comparing the options yourself.

What next?

Compare household gas and electricity

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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