Save on your energy bills
Understanding your gas and electric bills can help you to save money, reduce the risk of falling into debt and make sure you are on the best tariff. Bills can be confusing. Most complaints people make to their energy suppliers are about bills. If you don’t understand your bill, don’t worry you are not alone. Here you will find further information explaining the information on your bill. How to get a better deal on your tariff, how to make a complaint to your energy supplier, Smart meters and the extra support available for customers with additional needs.
Are you on the best tariff with your current supplier?
Could you get a cheaper deal?
Tariffs are the rate you pay for your gas and electricity.
If you have never switched, or haven’t switched in the last year or so, you will be on a default, standard or variable tariff. These tariffs are the most basic deals offered by an energy supplier and are usually the most expensive way to pay for your energy. If you are on one of these tariffs, you should look into switching to another type of tariff – it could save you a lot of money!
If you want to stay with your existing supplier, visit their website or give them a call to check if they can offer you a better deal tariff.
Fixed rate tariffs can be a good deal and could protect you from future price rises. Fixed rate means that the price of the energy will not change for the duration of the contract. This will help you budget as your supplier can’t suddenly increase what they charge for your energy use. The contract will be for a set period and if you need to leave it early, you may be charged a fee. When the contract ends, you must remember to move to another fixed rate tariff otherwise your supplier will move you back to their more expensive standard or variable tariff.
Other ways to pay less with your current supplier:
- Can you pay for your fuel in a different way? The cheapest way to pay your energy bills is often by monthly direct debit.
- Can you move to paperless billing? Instead of sending you a paper bill in the post, your supplier will offer discounts for sending bills to your email address or having online accounts.
Could you pay less with a different energy supplier?
Compare prices across the market
There are many different energy suppliers on the market today. You could save money by comparing prices and switching to a cheaper deal with another supplier. Switching from a standard variable tariff to the cheapest fixed rate, dual-fuel tariff with a paperless account could save you hundreds of pounds. Remember you can switch to another supplier if you rent your property and energy bills are not included in your rental payments. If you have a prepayment meter, there is less choice but you can still shop around and switch.
How do I find a new tariff or supplier?
If you have access to the internet, checking two or three comparison websites is a good way to get started. Price comparison websites can help, though always check you are using a Ofgem confidence code website. This will ensure that the process of switching energy supplier is easier, more reliable and reassuring for you.
Money Saving Expert also have the Cheap Energy Club. This is a useful tool that allows you to sign up to check if you’re on the cheapest deal. It will then monitor your tariff and check that you are still on the cheapest tariff and update you if cheaper deals come along.
Once you have found a good deal, there are a number of questions you should ask before switching to a new tariff:
- Do they offer Warm Home Discount?
- Does the supplier have a high rate of complaints? You can check this using the Citizen’s Advice Energy Supplier Performance table
- Is there a charge for switching supplier?
If you would like support with your switching or are worried about owing money to your energy provider you can contact your local energy advisor.
What should I do if I owe money
Ways to repay
If you have run up a large debt, first talk to your supplier. Try to be realistic about what you can afford to pay back and how regularly you wish to make payments. Remember you still have to pay for the fuel you are using now.
The most common debt repayment methods are:
- Paying an extra set amount on top of your regular payments. The amount can be negotiated with your supplier.
- Fuel Direct – this is when debt payments are collected directly from your Benefits.
- A Pre-Payment or Pay As You Go meter – many suppliers are keen to fit these as it guarantees them repayment. However, this is a more expensive method of paying for your fuel.
- A lump-sum payment.
- In some cases, you can apply to your energy suppliers Trust Fund
Your local home energy advice service can also help with any bills and payment concerns you have with your supplier – contact a home energy advisor.
Energy trust funds
Some energy suppliers have trust funds to assist with outstanding debts and help with the purchase of essential household goods and heating systems. These funds help individuals and families with very low incomes, who are suffering or in other distress and struggling to pay their gas and/or electricity debts.
For more information, contact your energy supplier or one of the local advice organisations.
Other sources of financial support
Your water supplier and wastewater provider will offer tariffs to help make water more affordable, assist with debt and water efficiency.
Smart meters are being installed by energy suppliers. Every home in England, Scotland and Wales will be offered the opportunity to upgrade to a smart meter by their energy supplier before the end of the rollout. These will replace the traditional meters in your home.
Smart meters measure how much gas and electricity you’re using, as well as what it’s costing you and display this on a handy in-home display.
For many people, getting a smart meter installed by their energy supplier could make managing energy at home that little bit easier.
To find out more and to access information in different languages and formats, visit Smart Energy GB
Am I entitled to some extra help?
Priority service register
Am I entitled to some extra help?
We all rely on electricity and water for our day to day for essentials, but for some, a power cut can be particularly distressing and difficult.
Priority Service Registers are free services provided by utility companies, including energy and water suppliers, to customers who may have extra needs.
You can receive services relevant to your situation if you:
- are of pensionable age
- are disabled or chronically sick
- have a long-term medical condition
- are living with Dementia
- have a hearing or visual impairment or additional communication needs
- live with a child under five
- rely on mains powered medical equipment such as stair lift and/or have medicine that need to be kept in the fridge.
You can also receive the service if you are in a vulnerable situation, for example you:
- have mental health conditions that impact your understanding of your bills
- are unable to top-up your pre-payment meter due to injury
- need extra support for a limited period of time.
Services can include advance notice of power cuts, priority support in an emergency, including alternative heating and cooking facilities, identification or password schemes, provide information in an accessible format such as large print or braille.
To register, call your energy and water suppliers.
Electricity and network operators
- UK Power Networks: call 0800 316 3105 or visit UK Power Networks
- SSEN: call 0800 294 3259, Textphone: 0800 316 54 or visit Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks
- Extra help | SGN Your gas. Our network