Energy suppliers cut electricity and gas prices last week and it’s now time to compare gas and electricity prices.
Despite suppliers cutting gas and electricity prices by around 4% last week, prices are still high after energy companies increased prices by as much as 19% during the summer of 2011.
The average household energy bill has doubled over the last six years and the average cost of lighting and heating for a year is around £1,200, but it’s still a fact that more than 50% of consumers have never switched energy supplier. In fact only around 5 million people switch energy supplier each year and many of these are people who regularly compare and switch. There are very few new switchers.
Wholesale gas prices have fallen by 19% since August 2011 while electricity prices have fallen 25%. Many commentators suggest that wholesale electricity prices are set to fall even further. However, despite this, ScottishPower, EDF Energy and npower have only cut gas prices by 5% and SSE has cut gas prices by 4.5%. The other Big Six energy suppliers, E.ON and British Gas have cut electricity prices – E.ON by just 6% and British Gas by only 5%.
The Big Six blame costs other than wholesale gas and electricity prices such as transportation and government levies for why they can’t cut prices further. The other argument is that many of these companies buy their energy months in advance so that much of their electricity and gas being used now was bought when wholesale costs were higher.
If you have access to the internet it’s easy to compare electricity prices and gas tariffs whether they are domestic or business prices. But even if you can’t get on the internet many comparison companies will allow you to send in your energy bills so that they can compare them. Or if you prefer to talk to someone about, for example, business electricity prices, then you can phone a company such as Utility Exchange on 0800 4118830 and a customer adviser will take your details and find the right deal for you.
Much still depends on where you live and how much energy you use. There’s no one supplier which can be said to provide the cheapest prices across the country. Many suppliers will offer a discount if you choose to pay by direct debit which could save around 10% on your energy bill. It may similarly pay to choose a dual fuel tariff because most suppliers offer dual fuel discounts.
With finances being squeezed from all directions at the moment this is an expense which consumers can actively influence. Many people worry that they’ll end up without any electricity or gas but this won’t happen, even with business energy transfers. However, consumers must ensure that they are not in debt with their current energy supplier otherwise they may block the transfer.
Now is the time to compare energy prices, especially if you’ve never compared and switched before. You may be surprised how much you can save!