The chances are you are on your provider's standard tariff. If this is the case, you could cut around £190 off your annual gas and electricity bill by switching to a cheaper online deal.
Don't let laziness cost you
After last year's massive energy price rises - gas bills rose by an average of 46% and electricity prices went up by around 28% - consumers have received some welcome relief following the recent announcements from the six major energy firms, that they will be cutting prices.
British Gas reduced its gas tariff in February, while nPower, E.ON, EDF Energy, Scottish Power and Scottish & Southern Energy will pass on price reductions at the end of this month. This is welcome news but the reductions are minimal. The average household is set to save around £50 a year so the price cuts won't negate last year's increases. But you can offset much of this by taking action and switching to a more competitive deal.
The cheapest tariffs are online products and the reason why this type of product costs less than standard deals is that the administration costs are lower. Rather than receiving a paper bill, accounts are managed online and customers receive an email when their new bill is ready. And it is often mandatory to pay by monthly direct debit if you have an online tariff. This is also cheaper for the provider as it knows it will be getting money from you every month, rather than having to send out a bill each quarter and then await payment.
As a result, and as the table below highlights, you can significantly reduce your annual bill by going for an online deal.
£1,054.95 Web Saver 2
£1,255.78 from March 31, 2009
£1,063.27 Sol 14
£1,189.40 from March 31, 2009
£1,072.95 Online v6
£1,220.70 from March 31, 2009
£1,077.74 energy Online Extra Saver 12
Scottish & Southern
£1,192.24 from March 30, 2009
£1,114.99 Standard Energy Online
£1,361.95 from March 31, 2009
£1,112.90 PriceSure Online
£161.42 Sourced by moneysupermarket.com March 13, 2009
It's a no-brainer - get switching now
Don't waste any more time or money. Switching is a breeze but too many consumers assume that the process is tricky. In fact, it takes no more than a few minutes. Watch our video '
How to switch your energy provider' for a step-by-step guide which shows just how straightforward it is.
Once you have inputted your details into our
gas and electricity comparison tool you can be saving money within a matter of weeks. The best deals
It is well worth using a comparison tool to identify which tariff is best for you. British Gas' Websaver 2 deal works out the cheapest for the average household but another product may prove to be better value if your usage is above or below average, and depending on where in the country you live.
When comparing products it's worth checking whether there are any cancellation fees. While most variable tariffs are penalty free, some will levy a charge if you switch providers within a certain period of time. If you sign up for British Gas' Websaver 2, for example, you'll be charged £60 if you want to switch again before December 31 2009. This is something to bear in mind.
What will you do with your extra £190?
By switching you will have pocketed, typically, £190. Here's what that extra £190 could buy you:
Two flights to Rome or Paris with a budget airline
The latest touch-screen iPod
A family ticket for four to Alton Towers and £50 cash for treats
A couple's basic grocery bill for a fortnight
A basic mobile phone tariff at £15 a month for a year
Your petrol for a month if you travel on average 30 miles a day
This is therefore money well worth saving.
How else can you save cash?
Regardless of which tariff you choose, it's also worth looking for ways to reduce your energy consumption and minimise your bills as well as help the environment. Here are our top ten tips:
Adjust your thermostat - According to the Energy Saving Trust, reducing your room temperature by just 1°C could save you around 10% on your heating bills. Also adjust the cylinder thermostat on your water to 60°C.
Remember to turn lights off when you leave the room.
Close curtains to stop heat escaping.
Only boil as much water as you need, but remember to cover the element in the kettle.
Use energy saving light bulbs - they last around ten times longer than ordinary bulbs and can save you £40 over the lifetime of a bulb.
Don't leave appliances on standby and don't leave electrical items to charge unnecessarily.
Consider investing in a lagging jacket for hot water pipes and insulate pipes - this could pay for itself within a few months.
Defrost freezers regularly and don't leave the fridge door open longer than necessary to ensure it runs efficiently.
Consider investing in loft insulation as 25% of heat lost in a home disappears through lofts without it.
For a comprehensive guide to making savings on your fuel consumption, check out our article, '
How to save energy and slash fuel bills'.
Rate This Article
Click on a star to rate this article.