Working out your energy usage
It's important to know how much gas and electricity you use, not least because you'll be asked about it when you run a quote to find a competitive tariff.
This means that, once you switch, your actual bill might be significantly more or less than you were expecting. And if it's a lot more, then that could be a nasty shock.
The easiest way to find the information you need about usage is to look on a recent bill (particularly if it based on actual meter readings and not estimates).
But if you don't know exactly how much energy you use - perhaps because you have recently moved into a new home - you will need to provide energy companies with an estimate.
Getting the correct results
Formerly, when running an energy quotation, you'd be asked to decide whether you were a 'high', 'medium' or 'low' energy user. But this way of estimating energy usage is too basic - it simply does not produce sufficiently accurate results to avoid a potentially painful mis-match when the first 'real life' bill comes in.
The good news is that, thanks to improvements in technology and deeper analysis of energy usage across the UK's housing stock, it is now possible to get an accurate quotation, even if you don't have precise energy usage information to hand.
MoneySuperMarket has allied with the Building Research Establishment (BRE) to develop a question and answer routine that pinpoints how much energy you're likely to be using in your current home.
BRE collects data for the English Housing Stock Condition Survey (a survey which monitors the condition and energy efficiency of houses in England).
This data also forms the basis of the RdSAP (Reduced data Standard Assessment Procedure) system. This is used to work out the Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) you need to produce when you sell your house.
Once we know your address, the type of property (terraced, semi-detached, etc), its age and construction, we're a long way down the road towards delivering a useful, reliable quote. Factoring your usual level of usage - whether you're using energy during the day or just in the evenings and at weekends - delivers a whole new level of accuracy.
Working out your estimate
To help you work out an estimate, MoneySuperMarket's tool asks you to answer several simple questions. These questions are:
- What is the postcode?
- Do you use gas in the property?
- What type of property do you live in? (House/flat etc.)
- When was your home built?
- How many bedrooms does it have?
- How many adults live there?
- Generally when do you use energy in the home?
We're extremely confident that, using the BRE data and the information you provide, we can deliver an accurate quotation. That means you'll be pointed towards the most appropriate tariff - which in turn means your actual bills once you switch supplier will be closely in line with the quoted estimate.
No nasty surprises, just the cheaper deal you were looking for.