Are you paying too much for your gas and electricity? If you’re unsure, comparing energy prices online could save your family an average of £200 on its bills.
If there’s one area of household spending that continues to march upwards, it’s expenditure on utility bills.
Energy prices, coupled with now rising inflation, stagnant incomes, debt and a poor return on savings means that growing numbers of families and individuals are making tough decisions about their finances.
These range from fewer families choosing to take an annual holiday right through to some who may have to make stark choices between food and heating over winter.
But whatever your circumstances, savings could potentially be made if you switch energy supplier – and this short guide will help you find the best energy prices for your home.
How to compare prices online
The simplest way to find out whether you can get a better deal on your gas and electricity bill is to head to a price comparison website like Moneysupermarket.com or uSwitch.com.
You may want to also check some individual providers, perhaps a smaller energy provider for example.
Price comparison sites are free to use and offer a broad overview of prices and tariffs from different energy providers across the market – and you can compare prices as often as you like, making sure you don’t miss out on new deals.
When you visit one of these sites, comparing providers is as simple as entering your postcode and filling in a small form to determine your usage.
Energy prices differ by region across the UK, so even if you’ve found the best deals for your present home, you should compare prices again when you move.
The site will then present you with a list of comparable tariffs, indicating which ones can help you save.
Many price comparison sites also provide regular news stories about the state of the energy market, as well as supplier reviews – so you can learn from the experiences of others who have switched.
Compare tariffs, not just providers
When you compare energy tariffs online, you might be surprised to find that your current provider has a cheaper tariff available than the one you’re currently on.
This is worth bearing in mind as it may be advantageous for you to stay with your current provider, for example you may be able to avoid any exit charges that otherwise may be added to your final bill.
The cheapest tariffs are invariably those that are managed online.
You might also be able to take advantage of new deals and price changes that have come into effect since you last compared the market – resulting in further savings.
Different tariffs for energy at different times
If you use a lot of energy at night to power storage heaters or heat water, then consider whether you can make savings using Economy 7 tariffs.
When you opt for Economy 7, you are charged one price for electricity used during the day and a lower price for electricity used during ‘off-peak’ night time hours.
So, when you compare tariffs, bear in mind how much electricity you use at different times – you could save more on an Economy 7 tariff, even if it charges slightly more for daytime energy consumption.
Dual fuel options
Another way to cut energy prices is to buy your gas and electric from the same provider.
Many energy companies offer both gas and electricity – and they are prepared to give you further discounts and incentives if you switch to a ‘dual fuel’ package.
Providers will also give you a discount if you pay by Direct Debit.
With so many variables, comparing energy prices gives you lots of potential for saving on your bills.
Price comparison sites can help you navigate this maze and give you sound advice on which kind of product or tariff will best suit your situation.
As well as switching energy provider, there are of course many ways to save money on your bills right now.
For example, as a start, make sure you’ve switched to energy efficient light bulbs and appliances. Also simply turn your thermostat down one degree – it can save you as much as 10% on your heating bill. Everything helps!