In recent months, thousands of energy consumers have noticed that their energy bills are steadily rising, though their energy consumption has remained the same. One study found that on average, households in the U.K. have experienced a 68% rise in their energy bill since 2008. The reason? Energy companies claim that the high energy cost is largely out of their hands. The price of installing wind and solar power technologies coupled with the government’s push for greener energy measures and high-tech meters falls heavily on the energy companies, which in turn affects your energy bills. While the energy tariffs are still rising rapidly, with recent rate jumps for some companies as high as eight to ten percent, comparing utility companies now can save you money in the future.
Energy consumers who are hit the hardest by these rising tariffs tend to be those who haven’t changed utility companies in a number of years. According to the Energy and Climate Change Committee, many energy providers are failing to provide their loyal customers with the most competitive prices, instead charging their old clients even more while offering much lower tariffs to new customers. Most of us cannot afford to pay more than we have to, especially when even the lowest energy bills are proving to be much higher than they were only a few short years ago. A utility comparison of the companies in your area may surprise you; the tariffs offered for new consumers might be hundreds of pounds less than you spend now.
If you haven’t switched utility companies in years, you may not realize how easy it can be to compare energy providers. You can call every company in your area for a quote, but that would be doing it the hard way. There are dozens of utility comparison websites online that will do all the grunt work for you. All you need to do is provide your zip code and a few details about your home, and the website will give you your quotes. Utility comparison doesn’t have to be difficult; but before you start shopping around for cheaper energy tariffs, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Will You Get Dual Fuel Services? For most people, it is usually cheaper to purchase your electricity and your gas from the same company. However, this isn’t always the case; depending on where you live, it might cost less for you to get your gas and electricity from separate companies. Also, if you use much more of one or the other, you may be overpaying for the energy source you don’t use as often. Many utility comparison websites will help you find quotes for both dual fuel services and for separate gas and electricity services.
Do You Want a Fixed Price? Fixed price options will set the amount you pay per unit at one steady rate for a certain amount of time, usually one to three years. Opting to pay a fixed price may not save you much money now, but a fixed rate is guaranteed not to go up in the future. With the rapidity of the rising energy tariffs now, switching to a fixed rate could be the best way to protect your future energy bills. Many companies are already changing their low fixed tariffs to a higher fixed option, so hurrying to lock in a fixed rate before they go up even more might be the best way for you to save money. Non-fixed rates, however, are likely to be cheaper now; if you need to save money right away, you could choose a non-fixed price for the present and switch to a fixed rate later. Just remember that a non-fixed price could go up at any time.
How Will You Pay? Most companies charge less for energy if you choose to pay online, and the savings may be even greater if you opt for a direct debit payment plan. However, if you prefer the older method of paying by check, your options for cheaper energy tariffs may be limited. Bigger companies like SSE and Npower tend to prefer direct debit, so you may be better off to choose a smaller company if you want to avoid paperless payment.
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