In Britain there are now more there are now so many companies who supply electricity and gas – which means that shopping around may help you find a better deal. Supply companies play no part in the actual generation and distribution of electricity and gas, even if their parent company is involved with these activities. Whichever supplier you go with, the responsibility for meters and incoming cables and pipes remains unchanged.
Buying your energy at a lower price:
The tariffs offered by all the energy-supply companies area a combination of a standing charge and unit costs for the energy supplied. Unit costs vary, depending on whether the energy is supplied during the day or night, and black charges for consumption above a certain level may reduce energy costs still further. In addition, discounts are usually available if you adopt methods of payment such as direct debit that are more convenient for the supply companies. There is also some incentive to choose a company who can supply both electricity and gas. Every company seeks to make tariffs seem more attractive than those of their competitors – but the only figure that is important to you, the customer, is the total you pay each year for your energy.
The government website www.energywatch.org.uk provides a code to be followed by price comparison websites. Examples of website that adhere to this code are www.energylinx, www.which.co.uk and www.uSwitch.com. These will supply you with estimates of costs from each supplier and compare those against your present outgoings. Make sure you don’t log on to a website created on behalf of a particular supplier. Once you have made the choice to switch to another supplier, it is often possible to make the transfer online.
You can use the same ‘comparison’ websites to check on how easy it is to make a transfer to a potential supplier and find out what policies they have in relation t environmental issues.
To carry our meaningful comparison you will need to supply:
- Your postcode
- Your present supplier of gas and electricity
- The type of meter (normal or economy seven)
- Your annual consumption of each fuel or present your annual bills
- The units used at night (for Economy seven customers) expressed as either a number of units or a percentage of the total units
Though most companies offer discounts for customers who take both gas and electricity from the same supplier, you may find that it is more economical to purchase each fuel separately. Try entering the same details for gas and electricity only and compare the results with a quote for a combined tariff.
Within the constraints imposed by the government watchdog, energy suppliers are continually adjusting their prices, and it may be worth comparing costs at about the same time each year.
Typical Running Costs:
Apart from the standing charge, your electricity bill is based on the number of units of electricity you have consumed during a given period. Each unit represents the amount used in one hour by a 1kW appliance. An appliance rated at 2kW will use the same amount of energy in 20 minutes. To help you identify the heavy users of energy, the chart (below), groups typical appliances under headings for low, medium and high electricity consumption.
TIP: Look out for the energy efficient labelling!
When you’re shopping for a new appliances, look for the European Community Energy label that must by law be available at the point of sale, including websites on the internet. This labelling gives us guidance on energy efficiency for electrical equipment from light bulbs to dishwashers, and the choice of an ‘A’ rating can make considerable savings in running costs.
Best of luck reducing your energy costs! Mr Fix Electrician