As most homeowners in the UK know, energy bills are almost constantly going up. More and more customers are finding that the cost of keeping the lights on and their homes warm is becoming a greater financial burden than ever before. Because of this increased strain, many consumers are looking to non-traditional ways of keeping those utility bills low. While cutting energy consumption is always the best way to spend less on gas and electricity, customers who open an online-only account with their electricity provider are likely to see some of the best savings possible. Suppliers often offer their best tariffs exclusively to customers that manage their energy needs online, although such customers need to keep in mind that an online account entails additional responsibilities that those with traditional accounts don’t have to worry about. This article will look at why online-only tariffs are so cheap, and what online customers need to know about these tariffs.
What is an online-only tariff?
When it comes to receiving gas and electricity, an online-only tariff is no different from any other tariff. The gas and electricity will be supplied exactly the same as before and consumers will notice no difference in how their energy is provided. The difference is that instead of receiving paper bills through the post, consumers will now have their bills sent to them via the Internet. These consumers will also have to open an online account through which they can keep track of how much energy they are consuming and what it is costing them. For households that have a smart meter installed, this data could be so accurate that it will even allow them to see when their energy consumption is at its highest during the day. With this information, consumers can then make changes to their lifestyles in order to lower that consumption rate. For households that don’t have a smart meter installed, however, they will need to input their own meter readings regularly via their online accounts.
Why are online-only tariffs cheaper?
Online-only tariffs are much cheaper for energy companies to manage, and those savings usually get passed on to the consumer. Not only does the supplier save by not having to print out and mail millions of paper bills, but because the consumer is responsible for his own meter readings the company saves by not having to perform this service as frequently. Also, since many online accounts are opened by those with a smart meter, these smart meters allow the supplier to offer cheaper time-of-day tariffs. These tariffs charge different rates for energy use depending on whether the energy is being consumed during peak or off-peak hours, thus allowing consumers to save more money by taking advantage of the cheaper off-peak rates.
What online customers should know
Customers who opt for an online-only tariff need to know that they will have much greater responsibility when it comes to managing their energy. In order to keep bills accurate, the supplier will expect online consumers to enter their own meter readings from time to time, although this will not be necessary if the consumer has a smart meter installed. As with other tariffs, online accounts come at both fixed and variable rates, so it is usually worth the effort to compare the various offers out there. While a variable rate may sound cheaper to begin with, customers who opt for this option will expose themselves to potential price hikes. A fixed-rate tariff may be more expensive at the beginning of the contract, but customers on this tariff are more likely to save money in the long run. Regardless of whether the customer decides to switch to an online tariff or to another traditional tariff, he should always be aware of any exit fees he may have to pay for breaking the contract with his existing supplier.
The Internet has made life a great deal easier for a lot of people, with many consumers regularly enjoying the benefits of online shopping, social networking, and other services. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that electricity providers are now offering some of their best tariffs exclusively to those who manage their accounts online. By opting for an online-only energy tariff, consumers will not only help keep their utility bills low, but they will have much greater control over how they consume their gas and electricity.
Sam Jones reviews the energy market and has recently discovered Energy Savings with uSwitch http://www.uswitch.com/gas-electricity/guides/cheapest-gas-and-electricity/ the advice pages give lots of detailed information for people struggling with energy bills.
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