How I saved £117 by switching electricity supplier

Picture of sunlight through bamboo for my post on switching electricity supplier

Save by switching

When did you last switch electricity supplier?

If it’s been a while, you might as well be setting fire to fivers. I’ve seen stats flying around that a third of people haven’t changed supplier in the last five years.

I do get it. Switching utility companies is hardly rip-roaring fun. But it can save you serious cash.

Gas and electricity companies rely on people not getting round to switching. Even the new price cap just means you won’t get royally ripped off if you slip onto a standard tariff – but you’ll still pay over the odds.

Luckily switching energy supplier is super easy. Way easier than shifting insurers (though that’s also a good idea!).

Here’s how I saved £117 in a few minutes by switching, followed by 10 quick tips so you can save yourself.

 

Picture of a pink soft toy octopus for my post on switching electricity supplier

An Octopus in spring time

How I switched electricity supplier

I’ve been with Octopus Energy for several years, and they’ve been brilliant. Good customer service, easy to use website and a commitment not to ‘bait and switch’, ie lure you in with ultra low prices and then whack them up next year.

However, with my fixed-rate deal ending in May, my monthly payments were due to rise.

I checked which tariff we were on, and worked out how much energy we use by reading the meter and comparing to the meter reading on my bill roughly a year ago.

Looking at a comparison site, the cheapest option if I stayed with Octopus was a fixed tariff at £59 a month or £714 a year. Meanwhile the cheapest deal elsewhere was £50 a month (£595 a year). Scrolling down, the first company I’ve heard of, with decent customer service ratings, was Bulb, at £54 a month (£647 a year). After a bad experience in the past with Scottish Power, I’m willing to pay a bit extra to avoid rubbish customer service!

That £5 a month difference between Octopus Energy and Bulb might not sound huge, but it adds up to £67 over a year.

I also knew Bulb had a decent ‘refer a friend’ scheme, so I asked if anyone on my Much More With Less #MoneySavingYear Facebook group had a referral link. By using the link (thanks Emma!) we’ll both get £50 credit once my switch goes through. That’s a total saving of £117! Plus, I have a clear conscience as Bulb supplies 100% renewable energy.

Previous post: Cheap ways to cut the cost of keeping warm

 

Picture of bulbs at the Wellcome Collection for my post on electricity switching

Let there be light

10 quick tips to switch electricity supplier

Here are my tips so you can speed through switching and start saving:

  1. Grit your teeth when you get a renewal letter, and use it as a prompt to switch.
  2. Dig out bills and take a meter reading, so you can check which tariff you’re on and how much energy you use in a year.
  3. Don’t give up if you haven’t got the info! Comparison websites will help estimate your energy usage even if you can’t find your bills/tariffs/meter readings. You’ll just get more accurate results if you do.
  4. Use an Ofgem-accredited comparison website to check prices. The list (here) includes Simply Switch, uSwitch, Money Supermarket and the Energy Helpline. Try a couple, as some run exclusive offers. I also like MoneySavingExpert’s Cheap Energy Club. Fun fact: it isn’t Ofgem-accredited because the underlying data comes from another website.
  5. For the biggest savings, switch both gas and electricity (known as a ‘dual fuel‘ deal) and pay by monthly direct debit.
  6. If money is tight, consider a fixed tariff for the peace of mind knowing your bills can’t go up – although they also won’t fall if prices go down.
  7. Click to see all suppliers, not just the ones you can switch to via the comparison site you’re using.
  8. Compare based on customer service, not just price. Personally, I screen out companies with non existent or bad customer service ratings. This means I miss out on some of the cheapest deals from brand new companies, but I’m OK with that.
  9. Don’t switch straight from a comparison site without checking for extra savings via cashback or a refer a friend link. If you’re spotted a good deal, check TopCashback and Quidco to see if you can make £15 to £30 by clicking through to specific companies or comparison sites before switching. Then see if you’d be better off using a ‘refer a friend’ link instead. Companies including Bulb*, Ovo Energy and Octopus Energy* offer £50 each to you and your friend, whether as vouchers or bill credits.
  10. Found a cheaper deal but don’t fancy switching? Call your current company, explain you’re thinking of leaving, and see if they’ll cut your price.

Previous post: Broadband: How to save without switching

Picture of Regent Street Christmas lights for my post on switching electricity supplier

Nice lights, shame about the bill

DIY or auto-switching service?

Nowadays, there are a bunch of companies that offer to switch your energy suppliers automatically if they find a better deal – the likes of WeFlip, Flipper,  Look After My Bills, Switchcraft and Switchd. Some are free and some charge a fee.

If you can’t be bothered to shop around, these auto-switching services could save some money – but you’ll miss out on any cashback or refer a friend bonuses from doing it yourself. Personally, I reckon energy switching is so simple, I’m happy to spend a few minutes once a year and pocket the extra cash.

 

Now – over to you. Still meaning to switch supplier, but haven’t got round to it? If Bulb does turn out to be a good deal for you, use my link www.bulb.me/faitha2838* and we’ll both get £50 credit!

 

*indicates an affiliate link, so anything you buy through it will help support the blog, as I will get a small commission at no cost to you. Many thanks!

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