Rollo. Those new smart meters are brilliant. And meters can be read 24/7 and bills always "actual". Think it is a planned roll out across the UK. Probabaly companies will concentrate on outlying elec meters first - difficult to access remote rural properties for readings/maintenance/safety checks. Also often in beautiful area where they are "holiday homes".
In meantime, many companies offer free "Smart - type" attachments that enable you to see where you are wasting money if you are good with gadgets. Sounds like you may have one of those.
Am going to try to keep this as simple as possible and not talk about energy saving tips at all. What you have said sounds excellent advice, but not my area of expertise unfortunately. Everybody round here seems to swear by wood burners as there is a lot of wood readily available.
We have a power meter free from the power supplier which allows you to see where all the electricity is being used. It integrates with software on the PC. Very effective.
Other things that work well are keeping the windows shut when the weather is freezing cold - it always amazes me, open windows with snow everywhere, ground floor insulation, wearing a woolly jumper rather than turning up the heating, turn off the "standby" gadgets. Not living in Wales, Scotland, eastern England or anywhere north of the A5 also helps no end. If you have the room running a generator with LPG can also save a fair bit after a biggish up front investment.
Our supplier is one of the "biggies" and I have always found their service & billing fine and gas+electricty billing competitive. All the same we have tried others who failed to honour their promises and produced gross and fictitious bills. So we are back with the original and I doubt there will be any more experiments.
Over a period of time retail energy prices tend to cancel out, it is a zero sum game and all you get is a lot of hassle. On top a fair bit of the bill in future will be to subsidise "green" energy and they will all charge the same levy.
Right then, here goes/
Work out approximately (very approximately) how much you are using. A simple way (if no degree in maths) is to work out in a year what you spend. I guessed at £400 for elec, £800 for gas.
Then go onto a comparison site like go.compare.energylinx.co.uk/calc-gocompare.html?db=dual
Fill in the simple form and put the amount you spend on gas and elec. That will give you figures for what you use.
In my case, that is 19,360 Kwhs of gas and 2,725 Kwh of electricity.
Ignore any potential savings from switching at this stage. Will come to that at the end.
Do we have to try and avoid naming companies? Can't remember rules but trying to avoid that. Interesting this morning that all 20 companies have been rated for customer service. There are the Big Six, which includes the one that you mentioned, Ann. And about 14 smaller companies.
How many of the Big Six were in top six in latest tables for customer service. Answer - none. Am I suprised? No. Is the quality of their gas and elec better than the small companies? No.
Ours is actually fairly reasonable at the moment. (NPower).
That sounds excellent scheme, Ann. Think that is happening in a few areas.
Think you will also find my tips useful and be interesting whether you can find a better deal as an individual than taking the collective deal.
My first tip is AVOID comparison sites. Have realised over last few years of switching that you can do an awful lot better by following some simple rules. There is one good use for a comparison site, which I will mention shortly.
For people in the Gloucestershire area.
Could you make the switch and save?
Worried about rising energy costs? With some firms announcing further price rises for 2013, Gloucestershire County Council wants to support people to get a better deal.
The council is concerned about the impact of rising prices on Gloucestershire residents, particularly older people and those living in fuel poverty. That’s why it is launching the Collective Energy Switch this week to help people get cheaper gas and electricity by working together.
Collective Energy Switching is bulk buying – if a large number of people want to change supplier together they are likely to get a better deal than just one person shopping around and switching on their own. And the more households that register their interest in switching, the more attractive it becomes for an energy supplier to offer a competitive price and the more likely consumers are to achieve significant savings.
Residents need to register their interest with the council in the next couple of weeks. You can do this either online at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/fairenergy by phoning the council on 01452 425757 from Monday 14th January to Friday 25th January inclusive between 8.30am and 5pm.
People only need to provide basic information at this stage: name, address, contact details, an indication of energy consumption and whether they wish to consider switching for both gas and electricity or electricity only. It’s a good idea to have a recent bill to hand as it makes registering easier and more accurate registration means a more accurate offer.
Cllr **********, Leader, Gloucestershire County Council, said: “Fuel poverty can be a real concern for people, particularly during the winter months. We want to do all we can to help people afford to heat their homes properly. Switching energy supplier is often the best way to save money on your bills, but the process of applying can often put people off. That’s why we’ve signed up to this scheme and we hope as many people as possible will take part. All you need is a recent energy bill and we will do the rest of the work and hopefully get you a better deal.”
Residents who have registered their interest will receive a personalised energy offer during February. Although this is likely to be lower than their current bills, there is no guarantee of this, but there is also no obligation to accept the offer and switch supplier. People only need to sign up to the scheme and make the switch if it works for them.
Do you want any tips for getting your energy bills down? Hope others will join in if you find my tips worthwhile.
My first tip would be for those with pre-payment meters. Do not go with a company that charges you a standing charge if you spend less than £10 a week on elec. Best company is probably one of the Big Six, who absorb the standing charge into their unit cost. Begins with an "S" (SSE). So for £10 spent, you get £10 worth of elec at about 17p per unit.
Expensive, but cheaper for you if you spend les than £10 a week. If more than £10 pw on pre-payment elec, one of the Big Six who used to sponsor FA Cup and starts with "E" is usually pretty competitive (E.On).
Get gas from same company - usually a discount.
Following tips will be for ordinary credit meters.