There is a massive reluctance on the part of UK consumers to change electricity and gas suppliers.
1. Is Switching Energy Suppliers Really Going to Save You Money?
There is a massive reluctance on the part of UK consumers to change electricity and gas suppliers. We’re quite happy to say goodbye to the company that has been insuring our car for the last 12 months so that we can go to a new one that offers us cheaper car insurance. But for some reason we are ridiculously loyal to our existing energy providers.
Why is that? After all, you only have to go to an energy comparison site and compare energy prices to realise that there is a significant difference between what one company charges for electricity and what another charges. Is the electricity or gas somehow cleaner? More shiny? Maybe it leaves our rooms smelling fresher? No, it is exactly the same product whichever company sells it to you. All that differs is the company’s profit margin and the amount they charge customers for each unit of electricity or gas.
If one company charges 17p per unit, why on earth use them when you could be buying from a company that sells the same product for 12p per unit? We happily drive for an extra ten minutes at least to get 1p off a litre of petrol, so why not use a comparison site to compare energy prices and then switch to a cheaper provider?
There is perhaps an understandable reluctance to switch, say, broadband supplier – because there are plenty of horror stories about terrible customer service, interrupted Wi-Fi signals and a delay between leaving the old provider and the new provider taking over.
But with electricity and gas supply, all companies are pretty much the same in terms of the technology they use to supply their product and the switch is designed to be flawless: no company wants to be blamed for the loss of all your food in the freezer because they turned off your electric before your new supplier took over or vice versa.
The fact of the matter is that electricity and gas can be cheaper if you buy it from a different company. But you won’t know that until you go online and compare energy prices for yourself. Companies have tried all sorts of ways to persuade people to change supplier, including signing up to be registered on comparison sites so that consumers can tell at a glance which supplier to choose. But few people like to be pestered at the door of a supermarket when they are trying to do their weekly shop or to be cold-called by salesmen over the phone.
So why not have a ready response next time you are accosted and say ‘no thank you, I have already compared energy prices online and I am using the cheapest energy supplier’? Much easier than lying about leaving something in the oven and having to dash. Compare energy prices once a year – maybe do it at the same time that you renew your car insurance so that you save money on your electricity and gas (which will take the edge off the increase in your car insurance premium…).