If you’ve already fixed your energy deal, it’s easy to get caught out when comparing prices. Fortunately there’s now a way to make sure you really are making a saving.
The message is clear: use a comparison site to see if you can save on energy by switching.
I’m sure most of you believe (as I did) that this was GOOD ADVICE, even if you didn’t bother to actually change your supplier. Yet last year I was shocked to find out all was not as it seemed.
An unfair way to compare energy tariffs
You see, when the comparison sites compare prices, it’s not with the rate you are currently paying, but with what would you pay over the next 12 months if you didn’t look for another deal and were automatically moved to a standard tariff.
So, you could be comparing six months on a fix and six months on a variable with 12 months on a new fix. Since variable tariffs are usually the most expensive available, the chances are you’ll be told you could be saving money if you switch now.
Except you probably won’t. The new fix is probably more expensive than the old fix! So switching now would mean you pay more over that half year than you would by staying put.
Of course, it’s possible you could be saving by switching now – but the complicated way energy bills are calculated makes it impossible to tell.
>> Read more about how comparison sites calculate savings in my blog post “Already fixed your energy? Why you need to be wary of comparison site savings“
Why do they do this?
It’s all down to the government regulator Ofgem trying to make things simple. The comparison sites all have to work it out the same way, so you should be getting the same results with each of them.
I think it’s crazy it works like this – and when I first wrote about it in October, no one was speaking out about it!
However, last week I was really pleased to see one site is making a stand.
A fair way to compare energy prices
When I researched this last year, the only site which mentioned the rules (though buried away elsewhere on the site) was Money Saving Expert’s Cheap Energy Club.
It’s now come out saying it’ll compare your current tariff with what’s available on the market.
This is great news as you’ll now get a fairer idea of if you really can save money by switching (and fixing) your energy company NOW.
Good work MSE!
Hopefully Ofgem and the other comparison sites will follow suit soon. Until then, if you’re looking to save on your energy (and you should), I’d recommend only using Cheap Energy Club.