Every month that dreaded bill comes: the gas and electricity bill. Not just this bill too, but all bills. We spend half of our lives worrying and buried under bills upon bills that we work hard all year around to pay for. This is something that we can’t really change unfortunately; however, there is something that we can change: the size of that bill. Since 1990, people across Britain have been able to choose who provides their, creating a marketplace full of competition, offers and various other tactics to win over the custom of the British public. The best thing to come out of this, is much cheaper tariffs all at your fingertips. The problem is, huge amounts of people are still not taking advantage of this fact, sticking with their sky high tariffs from the likes of British Gas. Read through this article and you’ll soon realise how you can drastically reduce your bills.
Switch your tariff
Without a doubt, the number one way to save money on your energy bills is by switching your tariff. This doesn’t even necessarily mean switching your provider, just to another tariff. If you have never switched, there’s a 99% chance that you will be on standard variable tariff with your regions historically linked supplier, which will be one of the ‘Big Six ’. This will be the most expensive tariff they have to offer, generally due to them relying on you not taking the initiative to switch. Generally, at any given time, a standard variable tariff will be around 25% more expensive than the cheapest tariff on the market.
Generally, when making a comparison of the cheapest tariffs on the market, you won’t see any of the Big Six suppliers in the top results. This is because they rely on their customer ‘loyalty’ to maintain their superior market position; however, the game is changing. More and more independent suppliers are breaking through with their superior pricing and customer service, leaving no reason at all to stay with one of the huge corporations.
How to switch
Switching is extremely easy and requires almost no effort from yourself. The most popular method to switch your tariff as quickly and effectively as possible is by using a comparison engine. There’s a huge amount of these circulating the web nowadays, the most popular of which include companies such as Go Compare and Selectra . Once you enter the comparison engine you can add your basic information and see all the tariffs available to you in order of cheapest to most expensive.
Here’s the information you need:
- Personal information (date of birth, address, etc.)
- Bank details (for the direct debit)
You may want to have some additional information to hand just to make the process even more effective. If you know exactly what tariff you are on and the amount of gas and electricity that you are using, you will be able to see more clearly the amount you are going to save over the year and which tariff suits you best.
How to choose tariff
When you are confronted with the many, cheaper tariffs that are on offer to you, it would perhaps be first instinct to go straight for the cheapest option and have done with it. Although you may end up going for that tariff, it’s worth considering a few other criteria before you rush into anything:
- The length of the contract
- Fixed or variable unit rate
- Renewable energy or not
- Customer service reviews
- Standing charge
- Exit fees
Generally, you’re going to want to opt for a fixed tariff, as this will protect you from any sudden price increases; however, generally you will be informed in advance of any price increases where you to choose a standard tariff, which will give you time to switch. That said, if one company is hiking their prices, it’s usually a trend across the board, meaning you won’t be able to switch to a tariff that’s quite as cheap as if you were to choose a fixed in the first place.
Reduce your usage
Another important factor in reducing the size of your energy bills is actually reducing the amount of gas and electricity that you use. You can do this in a number of ways without actually change that much about your usage habits. In general, we tend to waste a lot of resources, such as water, energy and, in particular, money. Here’s a few ideas:
Switch to LED light bulbs. It is estimated that around 15% of the average UK electricity bill is made up of lighting costs. This is a huge amount, but this isn’t just because you are a bit forgetful when it comes to turning a light off when you leave the room. Older, incandescent light bulbs that are still popular in older homes are extremely inefficient in comparison to the lighting technology we have today. Switching to LEDs will reduce the amount of electricity used by around 75% on average.
Always air dry your clothes. Using a drying machine to dry your clothes is not only bad for your bank balance, but for your clothes as well: it destroys the original texture of your clothing; it has a higher chance of shrinkage; it makes them much more creased than air drying; and it very rarely fully dries your clothes. Save yourself a chunk of money by always hanging out your clothes to dry.
Turn radiators off from the valve in rooms that aren’t in use. It is so so common to see homes in the UK being heated in totality rather than heating the rooms that you are using. If you are in the living room and then going to bed after, what do you need to heat the kitchen, spare room, bathroom and whatever other rooms you have in your home that aren’t being used? You could save yourself a serious amount of money by being smart about your heating habits.