Thinking of switching your energy supplier?

Date published: 6 September 2011

With winter on the way you may be wondering whether it’s worth switching suppliers. Spend half an hour today comparing prices and you could potentially save yourself hundreds of pounds. Our tips can help you understand your energy bills, how to compare costs and how to make savings.

Whether you decide to switch or stay with your current provider, our tips can help you understand your energy bills, how to compare costs and how to make savings.

Finding a better deal

  • Look at your current bills. They should tell you how much energy you use (in kWh), how much it costs and the exact tariff name. For help in understanding your gas bill see the BBC website.
  • Compare the costs of different providers. Energy comparison sites are a good way of doing this. Use one of the internet price comparison sites that are accredited to the Consumer Focus Confidence Code. You will need to provide information about where you live and about your current energy consumption. Or have a look at the Which? Switch online tool – a free switching service which can show you how much you can save.
  • Compare the costs of using a dual supplier (buying both gas and electricity from one supplier) with having separate suppliers. Dual supply is often, but not always, cheaper.

Tips to save, whether you stay or switch

  • Consider paying by Direct Debit. Paying a fixed amount each month by Direct Debit can save you money. Most suppliers will estimate your future energy usage based on your current consumption and will then claim monthly or quarterly amounts based on this. This can result in you making under or over payments. You can avoid this, however, by taking regular meter readings yourself and providing the supplier with these.
  • Try internet billing. You can often get a discount by receiving your bills online rather than by post.
  • Change your payment method. If you have a pre-payment meter see if you can change your payment method. Direct Debit tariffs are usually the cheapest option but switching to a billed meter could save you money. Even if this is not an option, you can still use comparison sites to compare pre-payment tariffs. And make sure you buy your top-ups from a recognised source – don’t buy them from doorstep seller. This is a scam and you could end up paying twice over.
  • Try cutting your energy bills. There are lots of little things you can do to cut your energy consumption – see the tips on the Energy Saving Trust website.

Whatever you’re buying it’s always good to compare what you’ve got with what else is available to find the best deal for you. Take a look at Shop smartly and save to help prepare yourself and the Ofgem/CAB Shopping around for the best energy deal video.

For more on energy price rises see the Which? website. For information on how to save on, or get help with, your energy costs have a look at our Help with fuel costs article.