All you need to know about energy deals

If you’re confused about energy bills and don’t know whether you’re on the best deal, don’t worry you’re not alone. Les Roberts answers the common questions…

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What happens when I switch my provider?

Once you’ve applied for your new energy deal, the new supplier will arrange for the transfer to take place.

Many people assume that this involves new pipes being installed into their homes but this isn’t the case as gas and electricity comes into your home in exactly the same way.

The supply is the same it’s just the company providing it that changes.

How can I pay my bill?

Direct debit is often the cheapest option but some people still prefer the more traditional method of paying by cash or cheque at the end of each quarter.

Another option is to pay using a pre-payment meter and these are common in rental and ex-rental properties.

What does it mean when my bill is estimated?

The meter hasn’t been read and the provider is guessing how much gas or electricity you have used based on the size of your property. It’s advisable to take regular meter readings to ensure that you’re billed accurately.

Do price changes affect me?

Yes, if you are on a variable rate tariff.

If you’ve never switched your energy deal then you will be on a variable charging structure and, similarly, the cheapest online tariffs are variable.

It’s only those on fixed rate tariffs that won’t be affected by price changes.

Who do I speak to if I want to complain about my energy provider?

You must complain to your provider first and it will then have eight weeks to resolve your complaint.

If, after that time, your complaint remains unresolved or you are unhappy with the company’s response you can take your complaint to the Energy Ombudsman.

What is an energy tariff?

Energy providers charge more than one price for gas and electricity. The tariff you are on, also referred to as the product or deal, will determine the amount you pay for the energy you use.

If you have never switched energy provider you will probably be on the standard tariff and this is most likely to be the most expensive.

Online tariffs are usually the cheapest option as you are required to provide regular meter readings online or over the phone, pay by monthly direct debit and won’t receive paper bills.

Who do I speak to if I’ve moved into a new house and don’t know who the gas and electricity provider is?

If you can, ask the previous owner, landlord or letting agent. If this is not an option, or they don’t know, you can find out which company provides your gas by calling the M Number Enquiry Line on (0870) 608 1524.

For electricity, contact your regional electricity distributor and ask for the Metering Point Administration Service.

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