Every household wants to find ways to save money, but many people in the UK are motivated to reduce outgoings where possible during times of economic uncertainty.
We often think of our household bills as ‘fixed’ and often forget about our direct debits and how much we are actually spending on bills.
This unfortunate truth leaves many consumers overspending and being automatically switched onto expensive rates at the end of their fixed-rate deals.
Here at Love Energy Savings, we are dedicated to a simple mission – ensuring that no business or household in the UK is overpaying for the energy they use. Electricity and gas consumption has an all too real economic as well as environmental cost. So we have created this guide to provide advice to households to ensure customers have the information they need to avoid being overcharged by their energy provider.
Make sure you are taking regular energy meter readings
If you do not have a smart meter, most energy providers will ask you to provide regular meter readings. You will also be asked to share meter readings when you are switching to a new energy supplier or contract. This is to ensure that you are being charged accurately, for the energy that you have used, and your bill will reflect your actual usage.
Without these readings, your bills will be estimated, and they are often not estimated in your favour. As a result of this, in 2020, approximately over half of UK households are owed money in overpaid energy credit.
UK energy suppliers provide smart meters for free to both domestic and commercial energy customers, which are available on request. Smart meters send automatic readings to your energy supplier meaning your bills are based on your actual usage, and you don’t need to spend time reading your meter.
Make sure you are on the right energy tariff
The simplest way to immediately reduce high energy bills is to ensure you are on the cheapest available tariff for your needs. The easiest way to do that – given the massive number of suppliers and tariffs on the market – is to consult an online energy broker like Love Energy Savings.
Comparing domestic energy and gas tariffs with Love Energy Savings has multiple benefits. Firstly, we provide online access to thousands of energy contracts and can provide expert advice on getting the best deal. For example, suppose you use the majority of electricity at night, perhaps because you are charging an electric car, you would most likely benefit from an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff.
We also manage the switching process for you. Once your switch is completed, we will inform you if a cheaper deal becomes available - so you can sit back and relax knowing you will not be ripped off in the future.
Compare energy suppliers
We recommend that you compare home energy suppliers at least every six months. This may seem very frequent, but this is our analysis based on the volatility of the energy market. The ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers have become less dominant in recent years as new smaller, independent providers have established themselves by undercutting the prices of more well-established companies.
Avoid exit fees
Exit fees, or penalties, are sometimes imposed by energy suppliers for ending a fixed-rate contract early. Generally, this will be a maximum of £60 for a dual fuel contract (i.e. gas and electricity contract). However, it is worth noting that some energy providers do not include termination fees in their contracts. Currently, some of the smaller energy companies like Avro Energy offer fixed-term tariffs (which are often the cheapest available) with no exit fees.
If you are currently on a fixed-rate contract, the best way to avoid exit fees is to time your switch carefully. Your energy provider cannot charge an exit fee if you are within 49 days before the end of your contract. It is also worth noting that some energy suppliers may waive a penalty if you switch to another deal with them.
In general, don’t let an exit fee put you off switching. If you find a better deal with another energy provider, it might still be worth switching early!
Become more energy efficient
On the cheapest tariff available? Fantastic! But the savings don’t have to stop there. There are multiple ways to reduce your electricity and gas consumption in your home – and many don’t cost any money! Some of the simplest ways to be more energy efficient are to unplug and switch off – that applies to heating, lighting and electronic devices and chargers that often use electricity even if they are not doing anything. Keeping an eye on your thermostat and turning off radiators in rooms that are not in use during the winter months is another guaranteed way to ensure your energy bills remain low.
Investing in LED lighting is another way to ensure you keep your bills low, LED lighting can reduce your electricity usage by up to 65% and LED bulbs have never been more affordable. Switching to “A” rated energy efficiency-rated appliances, a smart thermostat or even installing solar panels can all reduce your carbon footprint and reduce your monthly electricity bills.