Friday, February 12, 2010

Saving money on home energy prices

In the last 2 days I've done an online comparison of our gas and
electricity prices, using Martin Lewis' moneysavingexpert website.

I'd worked out our annual dual fuel consumption (in kWh), and
used 3 of Martin's recommended comparison sites. For us, Simply
Switch offered the cheapest quotes. There's a special offer on at
the moment for Southern Electric (about £250 cheaper than what
we're currently paying to SE on a different tariff!), but as we
can't re-sign with our current supplier, I've set us up with
Scottish Power. With online billing and a promise from SP to peg
its prices at 3% less than its standard tariff, I've set the
switch in motion. Simply Switch will save us £207 a year on what
we're paying at present, and also will give us £20 cashback.

Two or three years ago, when I last did this exercise, we signed
up with one of the cheapest options then: Ebico, which said they'd
put profits into greener energy provision. I'm not sure what
relationship it has with Southern Electric, but we're being billed
by the latter. It's a shame that Ebico's prices are no longer
competitive.

Why I didn't keep a closer eye on what we're paying to Ebico/SE,
I don't know ... perhaps laziness or perhaps waiting for energy
prices to fall before locking ourselves in for a year with a
what might turn out to be a dearer tariff. British Gas has just
lowered its prices by 4%, and Martin Lewis predicts that other
suppliers will follow suit (like a herd of sheep). However, that
possibility didn't stop me going for what I think is a bargain.

Building societies / banks are well known for attracting savers in
with high interest offers on their savings accounts. Then over a
year or two (if you're not on a fixed rate of interest), interest
rates can drop dramatically. They rely on inertia of their
customers not to switch their savings to better accounts.

Mrs C and I have got a few cash ISA accounts earning very little
interest at present, so switching these is my next job.

6 Comments:

Blogger Keith said...

Switching suppliers doesn't work with me, and about 4 million other OAP's who live alone, with only a basic State Pension; and no "benefits" to boost it.

I can't afford to "heat and eat" (as our facist Govt call it!).

Even the cheapest gas supplier is too expensive for me! Anyway, as you say, they always find some excuse to increase the price once you've signed the contract.

8:46 AM  
Blogger Kevin 'In Salford' said...

Scottish Power are regulars at our local supermarket foyer with their piffle intended to con as many on the spot as possible to transfer to them.

(Funniest story there was that a regular British Gas piffle conman - salesperson! - had to be removed from that foyer for his own safety, he claimed far more than was actually true and some guy came back and set about him!)

Other regulars in that foyer include the low-priced but actually lower-speed and unreliable internet connection services. If it's such good value for money then why would you need to force it upon people in supermarket foyers, let alone paying websites to feature your grossly misleading sales/marketing info?

My advice would be to take advantage of the discounts etc in the short term, but then look at who the major supplier is for your area for the long term. That's where you will get price stability. I'm guessing that probably originated from EMEB or similar. (Mine here when I moved to Salford in 1988 was ManPower, which has since eventually changed to E-On. (Or 'Eee-orrr' as it is affectionately known locally as!))

12:01 AM  
Blogger Kevin 'In Salford' said...

ISA's?

Wish I'd never touched the thing!

Mine's a CIS "UK Income with Growth Trust", and started off with £7,200.

It's now totally worthless!!

In hindsight I accept that at the time it was the right thing to do for very long term savings, like a trust fund which would never needed to be touched until after my death. However........!!

12:18 AM  
Blogger justin said...

Keith: you have my sympathy there. I think the state pension is totally inadequate. I think all politicians should spend a compulsory 3 months, during a British winter, living on a state pension, in poor housing.

Keith: I guess your ISA will
afford you the luxury of a cardboard coffin. :)

11:46 PM  
Blogger Kevin 'In Salford' said...

Justin, you did it again with the names. Mind you the number of times over the years I've been called Keith I've often wondered why my parents didn't name me that instead of Kevin, it would have saved a lot of confusion and embarrassment all round. :)

Ref. my ISA. I very nearly included that humorous comment myself about the cardboard coffin, but decided to go for the dots as otherwise I would have started rambling. :)

11:48 PM  
Blogger justin said...

Hi Kevin ... I apologise for the slip-up. Another senior moment on my part.

6:34 AM  

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