Better not get too cosy until you’ve thrown the power switch

It is easy to forget when your contract is going to run out and leave you on an expensive tariff. Picture: PA
It is easy to forget when your contract is going to run out and leave you on an expensive tariff. Picture: PA
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The nights are drawing in and energy prices on the rise, so before the chill really kicks in, now’s the time to see if there are savings to be made.

According to MoneySaving-Expert.com, in early September, the average price of the top 10 most competitive tariffs had increased by £65 per year since the start of August. The website is promoting better deals at its “cheap energy club”.

Adam Bullock, UK director at TopCashback.co.uk, says: “Switching energy providers can make a big difference, yet many people put it off or want to avoid the hassle. However, by working out household usage, shopping around for the best rates and earning cashback on top, they could be cutting hundreds from their energy bills.”

Ofgem, the independent energy regulator, recently set out plans to cap rip-off gas and electricity tariffs and hopes to have the measures in place by the end of the year.

In the meantime, here are some tips from TopCashback for shaving money off your bills.

◆ If your household circumstances have not changed – meaning the same number of people are living at the property and you have the same boiler – then it’s worth working out your household consumption from the previous year for both gas and electricity. This will enable you to be more accurate than the monthly estimate from your provider.

◆ Once you have worked out your household consumption, you could try using an accredited energy price comparison website to see which provider can give you the best deal based on the amount of energy you use. Remember, when you use your energy – during the day or evening – will also have an influence on what deal is best for you.

◆ While getting your gas and electricity from the same supplier seems the simplest and most logical thing to do, separate deals may work out better. Check the prices of both dual and single fuel with providers, as you may find two providers are better than one.

◆ Another way to make a saving when switching is to do your switch via a cashback website, which will pass commission back to you as cash – giving you extra money on top of the savings you’ll be making on bills.

◆ Once you’ve found your preferred supplier and you’ve made the switch, it’s important to keep on top of your consumption. If anything changes, it may mean you’re suited to a different deal. Make sure you do regular meter readings – put a reminder in your calendar – and check every time you receive a bill rather than relying on an estimate.

◆ You may be able to save money by signing up for an online energy tariff, meaning you agree to manage your gas and electricity bills online rather than receiving bills in the post. But you may be charged a fee for leaving an online deal so be sure to check with your supplier first.

◆ From turning off your oven a few minutes early – the residual heat will continue to cook your food – to turning off lights in empty rooms, small changes can reduce your energy bills to help bring costs down.

◆ Thousands of households are caught out by moving to a standard variable rate tariff (the default price plan offered by energy suppliers, and usually the most expensive) when they are out of contract. To avoid overpaying, make a note of when your tariff is up and start looking at the switching process again.