Try to pay by monthly direct debit if you can, as suppliers will often offer a 5-10% discount if you pay in this way. The energy company will base your monthly statement on an estimate of your usage. Keep an eye on your statements though, as you could be paying over your actual usage and building up a nice credit on your account. The supplier will benefit from this as they earn interest on your overpayments. If you can't set up a direct debit as you don't have regular funds in your bank account to pay for this, speak to your provider about switching to a standard billed meter and paying your bills quarterly or annually rather than using a prepayment meter. If you need to manage your payments using a prepayment meter, check whether it's possible to switch prepayment tariffs and save money by switching to a cheaper plan. See how much you could save by switching your prepayment tariff - compare gas and electricity suppliers today.
The way energy tariffs are worked out means there's no one single cheapest gas and electricity supplier or tariff, only one that's cheapest for you. Use a gas and electricity prices comparison to compare prices for the area you live in, taking into account how much energy you use.
Dig out your 'annual energy statement' which you should receive from your provider. This will give you all the information you need to complete a comparison, such as how much gas and electricity you've used and what you paid for it. Check in the back of the drawer or ask your provider to give you the information.
Speak to your provider about going green and switch to online billing. Most providers will give you a discount for not having paper bills. It's also convenient and better for the environment!
Gas and electricity suppliers tend to offer discounts for dual-fuel, where you have both your gas and electricity with one supplier. But this isn't always the case. Shop around and check prices from separate gas and electricity providers for each energy product individually.
April and October are typically good months to switch gas and electricity supplier. The industry tends to review its prices around April and again in October so it's a good time to check then to see if you could benefit from any savings. If you are moving house, you will automatically take on the provider that is serving your new property. It's best to review your provider once you have moved home (remember you can't switch provider until you have actually moved into your new property and got your new meter readings).
By turning off lights, using energy-efficient light bulbs and switching off electric appliances you could easily reduce your electricity bill. By turning down the thermostat on your gas central heating by just 1°C, closing curtains (use thermal lined curtains) at night and by insulating your loft you could reduce your gas bill in the same way.
Every time you get a statement or bill, read your meter and tell your provider to update their records and re-issue you with a new version. Most providers give you a number to call to tell them your latest meter reading. Don't rely on someone coming around to read it - Call them!
Think twice before you sign up to a price capped tariff. While fixing has the benefit that the price won't rise for a fixed period - usually a year, two years or even four years, depending on the length of the contract - the cheapest fixed tariffs can be more expensive than the cheapest online tariffs and you may be locked into the tariff for a long time. You may find it better to have the freedom to switch and save whenever you want, but there are advantages to both methods.
Opting for a fixed price tariff will often be cheaper than remaining on a standard (i.e. variable) rate deal. Fixing also comes with the benefit that you'll know exactly what the price will be for the term of the contract, which will typically last for 12 months or two years (although some can be longer), and the savings can be marked.
Improving the energy efficiency of your home is one of the simplest ways of saving energy and combating rising energy prices. There are £1000's of grants available for improving home heating and insulation, especially if you have an older property. Go to the Energy Saving Trust's energy grant search for more details.
If you've never switched before, you could be paying more than you need to. Research has found you could be far better off by switching, so use our free, impartial service to find cheaper energy deals for your home and see how much you could save.
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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