IS IT REALLY EASY TO SWITCH ENERGY PROVIDERS, AND IS IT WORTH IT? - Simon Moynihan
Getting healthy can be pretty hard to do, and it can be seriously hard work too. There’s exercise, diet, classes and gyms, and sticking with it through thick and thin. It’s not easy, and getting financially fit can seem a bit like that too. We know we’re paying tons more than we need to for loads of stuff, and we can be afraid to take the plunge and make a change. We all know that the price of living has gone up and our budgets have shrunk. Current account fees have gone through the roof, and that money could be spent way better somewhere else but we don’t switch because it seems so difficult. Health Insurance appears to be shockingly complicated, so most of us put up with increased premiums each year. But there area few things that are actually easy to switch, they payout well when we do, and can be avery good start on the journey towards financial fitness. Car insurance is a great example. A quarter of u salready know that we can save money by switching, we do it every year, all it takes is a few phone calls and it can save us over €180. Switching energy providers is even easier, it doesn’t take any time on the phone and all it requires is a short online form. And yet only 15 percent of us do it every year despite savings of up to €300. So why do so many of us put up with expensive ‘standard’ rates
A household could save €152 on electricity just by switching
The price of electricity have gone up so much over the last five years that everyone has noticed. In fact, the price of keeping the lights on in an average household has gone up 22 percent or €220 more per year since 2010. Households with gas have been hit even harder. Even with small price cuts this year, gas prices are up a staggering 33 percent or €237 compared to 2010. Its a huge burden and has added nearly €40 per month to many household bills, in times when budgets have been under huge pressure. Its not all doom and gloom though. There are now seven companies supplying electricity and gas, and an eighth will launch this year. They are all competing for new customers and it means that there are some really good deals out there, but the suppliers aren’t just handing them out, customers have to take action to get them.
You may have switched in the past and saved money, but if it was more than a year ago, you are now almost certainly paying those expensive standard rates again. That’s because new customer discounts only last for one year and then suppliers roll customers over onto their more expensive standard prices. And unlike insurance companies, they are not required to notify you or send you a letter when your prices are going up.
There is good news though. With so many companies out there looking for your business, and all of them offering big introductory discounts, you don’t have to put up with those standard prices, you can save big money by switching instead. In fact, an average household on standard rates will save €152 on electricity and €l48 on gas just by switching to the best deals.
And switching is easy to do. Sure, working out the difference between all the offers, or making sure that the guy at the door really has the best deal can take a lot of work if you’re doing it yourself. But you dont need to because comparison and switching services like bonkers.ie can do all of that work for you. You don’t need much to switch either. Once you’ve selected the right supplier for you, you’ll need your MPRN number, which is on every electricity bill, and if you have gas you’ll need your GPRN, which is on your gas bill. Then you’ll need your billing details If you’re able to take a meter reading, you should include it in your application. Otherwise you can provide the reading from your last bill. An actual reading is best though because it’s what your new supplier will use to start your billing, and your old supplier will use it to close your account so you want it to be as accurate as possible. After that, everything is taken care of for you. There’s no interruption to your supply, a technician will not need to visit your house and the whole process takes around two weeks before you are notified by your new energy company that you are on supply.
GOOD TIME TO SWITCH
Most people switch during the winter months when they get their biggest bills. However, because discounts last for a whole year, it doesn’t matter when you do it. In fact it’s usually a good idea to ensure that you are on the best deal before the winter so you’re not paying expensive standard rates when you’re using the most energy.
Now is also a good time, not just for the savings on your bills, but because suppliers are also offering sign up incentives too. Bord Energy is offering £100 cashback off any bill for new sign ups. SSE Airtricity is offering €35 cashback and that’s in addition to their introductory discounts. And if you fancy a new thermostat, you can get even get a Climote or a Nest for free now too!
But the best news of all is that the 10 minutes it takes to switch suppliers can save you €300 on your electricity and gas bills.