I have always advised that in the long run switching energy suppliers does not really save you any money. My theory behind this is that all of the big six energy suppliers in the UK all tend to follow one another and raise their prices together. This has happened recently will all six players increasing their prices by roughly the same amount and within a very short period of each other.
So over a longer period the prices each of the big 6 charge even out. You can however save money in the short term but you have to do two things. Firstly you have to wait till all of the companies have increased their prices, this has now happened, conveniently I might add just in time for the arrival of the cold weather. Secondly you have to remember to compare prices and switch again if necessary the following year. If you don't you'll just end up paying the same as the previous energy company that you were with.
One of the problems with switching companies to save money is that people are often can't be bothered to switch every year. They either really can't be bothered, they think it is too complicated or worry about switching or they simply forget. The big energy companies like this as they can keep you as customer and slowly over time increase their prices yet again. Sure lots of people switch and save money but many also forget to switch again the following year to continue saving money.
Let me illustrate this with some figures. Say you are with Expensive Gas Plc and you pay £1,800 a year on your fuel bills. You decide to switch after Expensive Gas Plc raises their prices by £ and you save £200 on your annual bills with the new company, SoulLess Electric. The following year SoulLess Electric raise their prices by £450 and you are now paying more than your were if you were with the previous company. Yet you forget to switch again to continue getting the lowest bills possible.
If you switch energy companies you will save money in the short term but to make sure that you are paying the cheapest price for your energy you need to compare energy providers every year. Comparison sites such as uSwitch can be used to compare your current provider to see if switching will save you money.
If you have solar panels installed this does not affect your ability to change suppliers just the same as everyone else. Many people mistakenly believe that they have to stay with their current energy provider. Changing your tariff may actually be beneficial especially if you switch to a cheaper night time rate. Economy 7 with solar can mean cheaper bills as long as a large proportion of your daytime electricity comes from your solar panels.
Although the biggest incentive for most people to install solar is due to the benefits of reduced electricity bills and generous feed-in tariff incentive payments. Some people however do install solar for environmental and ethical reasons. If you are one of those people then have you considered switching your energy supplier to a green energy supplier.
Green energy companies can provide 100% green electricity and green gas to complement your solar panels. This would mean that you are using clean energy for your heating and electricity. Switching to a green supplier may even save you money compared to your current energy supplier (compare suppliers) as companies such as Good Energy have not increased their prices for years and Ecotricity has a price match.
As long as you continue to compare your supplier to the rest of the market on an annual basis then you can save money by switching. If you have solar panels or are considering installing solar then you will still be able to compare and switch. I'd urge anyone thinking of switching to at least consider switching to one of the green suppliers. It may not cost you any more or only slightly more than you are already paying and you will be making a big difference to the environment.
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