To justify its existence, Ofgem has decided that it is going to start a two-year investigation of the “big six” energy suppliers in the United Kingdom. Yes, fellow readers, it is going to take Ofgem a whole TWO years to research the state of the energy market and report on its findings. If I told my company I needed two years to investigate one industry in one country, I’d have the senior management point a crooked finger at me and say ‘you’re fired’.
Meanwhile, as average energy prices rise sharply well above the inflation year on year, and hefty profits are made, government ministers quietly sit in the balcony area watching the comedy-drama unfold. Occasionally, we hear a few words from Westminster on the subject, but never a concrete action worth talking about.
Chart sourced from The Guardian illustrating energy price rises vs inflation and average weekly earnings
So in this Wild West we live in, the only way to fend for ourselves is to do our own research, which in contrast with Ofgem’s enquiry, takes about 20 minutes.
My EON contract is coming to an end this April 1st. So I’m setting aside some time to find a cheaper supplier.
- First things first: I read this page on MoneySavingExpert.com for a bit of background information.
- Then, I reach for my bills for the last 12 months and grab a calculator. I add up how much I’ve spent on electricity and/or gas in the past 12 months and make a note of the figures. [Ginormous gasp at the figures! I didn’t know how bad it was!]
- After recovering from the shock, I go onto the Which? website and enter a few details including the amount I’ve spent in the last 12 months. You can choose any another comparison website like USwitch or MoneySupermarket or CompareTheMarket (just Google ‘switch gas’ or ‘switch electricity and you’ll find lots of comparison websites to choose from).
- These websites crawl for all the current offers, and in less than two minutes, come back to you with a list of the tariffs worth looking at.
- Then, it’s a matter of reviewing a few of those deals, narrowing your choice down to 2 or 3, reading through the fine prints, and making your pick!
In less than 20 minutes, I’ve just saved myself just over £250 by choosing to go with a smaller utility provider! In my household, that’s time well spent. I could really do with that extra £250 to pay for the car servicing…
And you don’t just save money. You also stand a chance of getting much better customer service too. A 2014 Which? survey gathering opinions from more than 8,500 energy customers, found that smaller gas & electricity suppliers come top of the list when it comes to customer service, way ahead of the EDF, EON, Scottish Power, SSE, Npower…and not to mention British Gas which comes almost bottom of the list. You mean, it’s not just me who is experiencing British Gas’s call centre nightmare?
So rather than sitting there complacently reading this article and letting energy companies walk all over you, go find out how much you could save by switching. It won’t cost you a penny to find out and it puts you back in the driving seat, allowing you to make the conscious decision to switch or stay with your current provider.