Seven myths that stop you getting the best energy deal
More Brits are switching than ever — but here are some myths that stop people.
It’s important to recognise that you could instantly save money on your energy deal by switching to a new provider, rather than falling foul of the loyalty penalties you could face by remaining with the same firm for too long.
Here are the myths that you need to bust to get the best tariff.
1 Loyalty pays
Energy companies usually offer their cheapest deals to new customers, while millions of loyal customers are either stuck on costly standard variable tariffs (STVs) or watching their monthly bill go up and up over the years.
Although since 1st January 2019, SVTs have been capped by Ofgem at £1,137 per year (for typical fuel use), many customers will be paying over this, or will have not seen a decrease in their bills. The cap only applies to SVTs, so those on expensive fixed deals will not have seen any benefit.
To get the best deal, you should regularly shop around. Find out which firms might give you a better price, and don’t stick with the same provider for too long.
2 Switching is difficult and time consuming
Lots of people assume that switching to another energy provider will take up a lot of time, be confusing, and potentially cost them more money in exit fees.
However, energy is actually the easiest household expense to switch. The process usually takes around three weeks, and doesn’t have to be arduous.
Even if your deal does have exit fees, you’re likely to make that money back in the savings that switching brings.
3 My energy supply will be interrupted when I’m between suppliers
Some customers also believe that their energy will be cut off as they switch, which is untrue. Don’t worry that you’ll have anything switched off.
All energy comes directly from the national grid in the UK. This means that it will still work whilst you switch — the process of moving to a new supplier is simply one of filing paperwork.
4 A smart meter will automatically save me money
Smart meters have been pushed by the UK Government for a while now. But they have brought lots of controversy with them, partly because they might not be as good at saving consumers money as many people think they are.
Don’t presume that adding a smart meter to your home will bring down your energy bills. It might, but it could also disappoint you with the lack of savings made, and it won’t have as much of an impact as switching provider.
5 I can’t switch because I have a prepayment meter
Lots of people also think they can’t change energy suppliers because they have used a pre-payment meter. This lets customers pay up front for their energy.
Pre-payment tariffs are usually more expensive than other types of deal, but these users are still able to switch. In order to find a more competitive deal, they will need to change the pre-payment meter to a credit meter.
Don’t think that having one of these meters is an obstacle to finding a better tariff.
6 I can’t switch because I’m on an Economy 7 (or Economy 10) meter
Another (less common) myth is that you can’t switch if you’re on an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff. Lots of people think these provide better prices.
These meters track the daytime and nighttime usage of energy in the home separately, and the latter is typically offered at a cheaper rate than the former. The day rate is however often more expensive than a normal tariff.
This means that unless you use a significant proportion of your energy during off-peak times, it can actually work out more expensive for you.
You can still switch if you’re on one of these deals, you’ll just need to get a new meter installed.
7 I live in rented accommodation so can’t switch
Some consumers who rent think that this means they can’t switch. Tenants who pay their energy bills directly to the supplier are able to switch and to choose their energy company.
The tenancy agreement will show who pays the bills, and whether the landlord has a preferred supplier. Tenants are able to choose independently if they are the bill payers.
Make sure you’re not putting off switching because of any of these myths — it’s important to get the best deal, and find a tariff that works for you. Use a price comparison site like A Spokesman Said to do some research, and get out of the trap of rising energy prices.
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