Thinking of switching energy provider but no idea where to start? The switching itself is the easy part as your new supplier will organise the transfer for you but making the right choice company wise is increasingly difficult despite measures being put in place to simplify the process. However, worry not! Help is on hand with my 7 essential top tips for comparing prices and switching energy provider PLUS a free downloadable price comparisons spreadsheet!
Know what you're paying now for both standing charge (pence per day) and KWh.
The costs for standing charge and price/KWh will be stated on every bill from their current supplier. These charges are usually stated ex VAT. Domestic energy VAT is 5%. The downloadable spreadsheet calculates everything ex VAT but it doesn't matter as long as you're using consistent figures throughout i.e. always ex VAT or always including VAT. Be careful not to mix them up in the comparison of energy prices. Normally the standing charge and price/KWh are stated on your bills. The comparison sites can vary between ex VAT and incl. VAT.
Know how much energy you use per year in KWh.
This information should be available from your current supplier or you can calculate from previous bills. It should be under the bill analysis and will provide an estimate of annual usage in both KWh and £. If your supplier doesn't have this on the bill, it can often be found on your online account or by telephoning your supplier. However one warning is if you haven't been with your current supplier for at least 12 months, the estimate of usage will not be accurate. In that case, it is advisable to get your last 12 months bills and add up your KWh usage for the 12 months. Each of your bills will have the usage so adding them all together will provide 12 months usage. You need 12 months as usage varies between summer and winter so taking just several months will give a false estimate. Although the comparison websites factor this in, it’s not as accurate as providing your own usage for 12 months.
Don't use your monthly spend or even annual spend to compare deals – use KWh usage.
The comparison sites work better when comparing actual usage rather than monthly or annual spend. If you must use spend in £, use annual spend as usage varies across the seasons.
Take into account both the standing charge and KWh
When making comparisons ensure you compare both the standing charge and KWh. Some suppliers will have a lower standing charge but higher price per KWh. This will cause a significant difference if you are a high user. The more electricity you use annually, the more effect a higher price/KWh has on your total spend. It's often better to accept a higher standing charge but lower price/KWh. However this depends on your overall usage.
Provide regular meter readings
Ensure your current billing is up-to-date by always providing a regular meter reading. You should always supply a meter read monthly to your supplier to ensure accurate billing but this only applies if you don't have a smart meter.
Always pay by DD if you can as this provides the cheapest deals
Direct debits are easy to set up and even if you would prefer to pay as you go, they are far more cost effective than 'cash' payments. Paying by DD improves cash flow, is flexible and lets you set up and forget.
Download my FREE spreadsheet to help you compare prices
This FREE downloadable spreadsheet allows comparison between electricity suppliers but should also work for gas. Just enter your annual usage in KWh and then enter the standing charge and price per KWh for each supplier including current supplier. The comparison sites will display these two costs in the breakdown for each quote – you might need to click on a link to show the expanded calculation. The energy prices spreadsheet will automatically calculate savings in both % and £.
Just enter your details below to be able to download it. They are kept purely for my own download records and will not be used for any marketing purposes as per my terms and conditions.
I really hope all these tips are useful and that you make the most of the spreadsheet. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.