It’s an exciting time for anyone who has just bought their first home. However, there are a few things to consider. You will need to budget for your mortgage payments, food costs and your utility bills. When you first move into a house its common practice to have the gas and electric switched on by the previous energy provider.
Start Your research and you will almost certainly find an energy company that will give you a better deal. Even small savings add up, so it is always worthwhile to look at the alternatives available to you.
How Do You Choose?
This can be a potential minefield because there are so many companies who are battling for your custom. People have phone calls daily asking if they’re interested in moving to a different provider, and if you don’t already have one, they will do their best to make sure you go with their company.
The aim of the game is to find a company that’s competitive on price, but also gives a great service too. There’s no point in signing up with someone who won’t be there to help you out if you have a problem with the power in your home. If you’re looking for a company for the first time, follow some of the tips below to help you with your search:
- Research - Do some research, and don’t go with the first company you come across. Canvass as many companies as possible.
- Stick to the Large Companies - It’s a known statistic that people tend to go with the bigger companies simply because they have a large client base, which must mean they’re doing something right, so start with them first.
- Tariffs – Price is important, and when you’re in talks with a company make sure you understand what tariff they will put you on. These days there are many packages to choose from, so be clear on what you’re getting for your money.
- Comparison Websites – These are great places to start if you have no idea what you should be paying for your utility bills. Simply enter an amount, and the website will automatically search for the best tariffs they have access to.
Whilst the last of the points above is good advice, be aware that not all energy providers are registered with sites like this so you may still have to do some additional research. This is because they have to give the switching site a commission for any new customers it generates.
One of the biggest headaches any consumer will have is when they are with a company that consistently estimates their bills. Those estimates will always be over-estimates of your fuel usage and this is not ideal.
You may find you get a whopping bill one month and not the next. With the economy the way it is today, people need to know what they have to budget for on a monthly basis.
When you’re talking to a company you think might be right for you, make sure you ask if they ever estimate their bills without offering you the option of reading the meter yourself.
Many of the larger providers will give you the option to read your own gas and electric meters yourself. You can then log into their website and submit the figures. Don’t think this is a good way to pay less because an engineer will visit to confirm what you’ve entered at some point. If you’re not honest about your readings, this could mean a very large bill when you least expect it.
Most companies will want you to sign a contract when you have made your decision about which one to go with. It’s vitally important that you read the fine print, and make sure you understand it. If you have any questions, or are not sure you understand something (no matter how small), ask the provider for some advice.
British Gas, E-On and nPower tariffs are all very difficult to understand and to compare them you really need a calculator or a spredasheet, along with the number of units you typically use each month.
If you follow some of the tips outlined in this article, you won’t go far wrong in finding the right provider for your gas and electric. Just remember you’re the customer and you are always right (well nearly).