Considerations when choosing an energy supplier

By Energy Company Numbers on March 16, 2015 in Help and advice

If you’ve been looking for ways to save money around your home, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll have decided that it’s time to change your energy supplier. With so many companies in the market and a constantly shifting landscape, considering your energy options is always recommended. But whilst comparison websites might have made comparisons easy, they’ve also allowed energy companies to hide certain details, only to surprise you once you signed the contract. As such, it’s crucial to spend some time investigating your new energy supplier before signing on the dotted line. The trouble, however, is knowing exactly what you should be looking out for. In this short guide, we’re going to address that, so join us as we help you save money.

The cost

Whilst this might be the most obvious item on the list, it’s undeniably important. The cost per watt of your electricity and cost per cubic foot of gas ultimately decides the cost of your bill. These prices will likely be up front, but be careful about placing all your trust in comparison websites, energy companies have begun offering stupendous deals on these websites in order to catch your attention, only to throw in other charges once you’re on the contract, oftentimes making them more expensive than the competition. All UK suppliers are required by law to publish their prices, and if you ask they’ll send you all the details.

How much is the standing charge?

There are new laws in place across the UK which mean that all tariffs must include a standing charge and a unit price. In practice, this means that every company will charge you a fee regardless of how much energy you’re using. These standing charge fees vary quite wildly, and it’s entirely conceivable that your supplier will charge 1p. However, it’s always worth asking, especially if you’re looking for a company to supply energy to a second home which isn’t used often.

Will there be a penalty if you wish to switch?

You should always check the small print on your contract to see if you’re in violation if you decide to quit the contract. If you’re on a fixed price or capped price contract, there’s a good chance that the contract will include a no-quit clause which leaves you with no choice but to run out the term. Energy companies are keen to do this so that if energy prices drop and your fixed price contract doesn’t look so good anymore, the company can enjoy the guaranteed profits from your contract. Of course, energy tariffs which fluctuate with oil prices can be subject to huge price hikes, so it’s up to you to decide whether entering in to a fixed price contract is worth it for you.

How do you pay them?

Different energy companies charge you in different ways, so take a look at your contract. Many homes are still fitted with pre-paid meters, which mean you have to ‘top up’ the meter before you can use your energy. Quarterly bills are also popular, but can lead to big surprises if you’ve been inattentive with your energy usage, so watch out for that. Most companies look to get you on a monthly direct debit though, which means the money automatically comes out of your bank account each month without having to deal with cheques or going to the bank to forward the money onwards.

Is your energy green?

What was once not a consideration is now very important, and many energy companies are slowly introducing renewable energy sources to their packages in order to offset the declining amounts of fossil fuels. Check your energy supplier’s mix to see where they’re getting their energy from, they’ll publish this information and send it you should you ask for it. You’ll also find information on the amount of CO2 and nuclear waste produced by the energy company.

About the Author

Energy Company NumbersView all posts by Energy Company Numbers
Energy Company Numbers is a telephone number directory service dedicated to helping UK consumers keep in touch with their energy suppliers.


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