Switching who provides your bills is a completely alien concept to some people. Surely there can’t be that much of a difference between two companies selling the exact same product. Well, you’re right, there is absolutely no difference in the product, but there is a huge difference in the price. Unfortunately, as well, the beloved household name suppliers, such as British Gas and EDF Energy are amongst the most expensive on the market. Since 1990, people in Great Britain have had complete choice on which company supplies their gas and electricity, but it still seems as though the word hasn’t got out, much to the delight of the Big Six energy suppliers. It’s time for change! Read through this article and knock of hundreds of pounds from your current bill.
Types of tariff
There are two principal types of tariff that you will encounter when carrying out your energy comparison. These are: fixed; and variable. These two labels refer to the unit rate that you are signing up for. A unit rate is the price per kilowatt hour (kWh) of gas and electricity that you use. In order to work out your billing amount, this rate will be timesed be the amount of each fuel you have used. Both gas and electricity have separate unit rates, so be sure to check both.
There are advantages to choosing both; however, the most popular, and generally the cheapest, option is fixed. A fixed tariff, although contractually binding for a year or two, will generally have much cheaper unit rates and will protect you against price rises while your contract is still active. Variable tariffs, on the other hand, will rise and fall with global wholesale prices and generation efficiency. Although the idea of reduction in price sounds promising, it seldom happens.
Another key tariff type that you should perhaps consider is a 100% renewable tariff . As the world’s energy crisis continues to grow, energy suppliers are being forced into tighter measures to kick their reliance on fossil fuel generation. As such, many suppliers have begun to offer green tariffs for those who want to do their bit for the environment. These tariffs will remove your usage amount directly away from fossil fuel demand.
What details do I need?
Switching your energy tariff is not like many other utility bills: it is extremely simple. The majority of energy suppliers can now switch you over with as little as your name, address and bank details to set up your new direct debit. That said, there is still some information that could be of great use to you when you come to making your comparison. If you opt for a fixed tariff, your monthly payments will be set and based on your average monthly usage, so it is important that you make an at least semi-accurate estimate.
Additional information can help you out includes:
- Personal information (name, address, postcode etc.)
- Bank details (for the direct debit)
- Average yearly usage
- Your meter type
- Your current tariff information
How long will it take?
The part that you need to be concerned with, clicking the buttons and sending your information over to your new supplier, will take only 5 minutes. The next part, which doesn’t require any further input from yourself, is handled by the comparison service or your new supplier. This is the physical switch that you are you putting through.
Due to Ofgem regulations, a switch can now take no longer than 21 days by law. The current average lies around 17 days, but it could take more or less time depending on the company. Following the official switch date of your supply, you will have a 14 day window called a ‘cooling off period’, which gives you the chance to change your mind and cancel. This is your right as a consumer and can not be legally contested by your new supplier. If, however, you decide you want to cancel your contract outside of that window, you will most likely be subject to an exit fee. This usually works out at around £40 per fuel, also depending on the company.
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