7 things to consider when switching energy supplier
The best energy deal for you is not always the cheapest option. There are a number of important factors to consider when choosing to switch to a new energy supplier.
Switching energy suppliers is one of the easiest ways to save money. And with more of us working from home these days, being on the best energy plan for your needs is more important than ever.
The great news is that the switching process is really simple and only takes a matter of minutes, especially when you use bonkers.ie.
This guide outlines 7 important factors you should consider when switching to a new energy supplier. It is the final guide in our eight-part energy switching series. This series aims to remove the confusion that surrounds switching energy providers and to ensure you make the most of the deals available on the market.
You can find the rest of the guides in this series linked at the end of this article.
1. Green energy
If you’re looking to switch energy supplier and fancy doing your bit for the environment, you might want to consider a green energy deal.
Green energy is generated through renewable sources such as solar, wind and renewable biogas.
Currently, around 40% of Ireland’s electricity is produced from renewable resources, and with that figure only set to increase into the future, it’s well worth your while to check out the variety of green energy plans on offer with our green energy comparison service.
2. Customer service
Before signing up to a new supplier you should also check out its customer service record to make sure it’s up to scratch. In this way you can be sure you won’t be left in the lurch should you need assistance if anything goes wrong.
One easy way to evaluate the quality of an energy company's customer service is by checking out the Commission for Regulation of Utilities’ (CRU) website. The CRU releases statistics each year informing the public of complaints lodged against each supplier in its Customer Care Team Annual Report.
The report has lots of detail and analysis outlining the types of complaints filed against each supplier and whether or not they were effectively resolved. It also includes the number of complaints lodged in comparison to an individual supplier's market share. All of this information is invaluable when making a judgement about which supplier to give your business to if customer service is important to you.
Another handy way to gauge a supplier's customer care track record is to check out reviews online. Review portals like Feefo, Trustpilot and Google Reviews are all helpful tools for consumers when trying to figure out a company's level of customer service and are generally a good reflection of consumer sentiment. You can leave a review for bonkers.ie on Google right here.
3. Single or dual fuel
Another thing to consider is whether your new supplier offers both gas and electricity i.e. a dual fuel deal, or just one or the other i.e. single fuel.
Most energy suppliers these days offer both gas and electricity but some don't so you need to check as you might prefer getting all your energy from the one company. Choosing dual fuel also means you'll only have to deal with one supplier, which makes life a lot easier for many families.
That being said, it’s also possible to switch your gas and electricity to two different suppliers, and avail of two separate offers. This allows you more flexibility when it comes to getting the best discounts, but it will take up a bit more time with regards to administration and dealing with the separate suppliers.
4. Online services
Before switching you should also do some some research into your supplier's online services as things like access to your own online account, online bills and a good mobile app are great ways to help you manage your energy usage.
If you want to know more about a specific app, like with a company's customer service, you should take a look at the reviews posted online such as on the Apple and Android app stores, which will help in determining the good and the bad.
5. Loyalty and rewards schemes
If loyalty and rewards schemes are important to you then you should also make it your business to research the existing rewards schemes available with each supplier when switching.
For example, Electric Ireland has its ‘Real Rewards’ partnership with SuperValu, while Bord Gáis Energy has its 'Rewards Club' in partnership with Tesco. With both these schemes you'll earn clubcard points whenever you pay your bill. What's more, when you receive your supermarket vouchers, you can use these to double up on your savings with a €5 voucher usually knocking a tenner off your energy bills.
And if you're with SSE Airtricity and have a Permanent TSB Explore current account which you use to pay your bill, you'll get 2% of your bill back into your account in cash.
6. Fixed vs variable tariff
Just like mortgage rates, some energy suppliers offer the choice of a fixed or a variable tariff.
Although common in the UK and Europe, fixed energy tariffs are still quite rare in Ireland but some suppliers do offer them so this is something for you to consider too.
Whether you choose a fixed tariff or a variable one will depend on the value you place on certainty and the peace of mind in knowing that your energy won’t increase in price over the period of your contract.
However the price you pay for certainty is a slightly higher unit rate to begin with as fixed energy tariffs are usually slightly more expensive than variable tariffs.
Last but not least, and probably the most obvious point to consider, is price, which is the main reason the majority of consumers switch energy provider.
More often than not people pay above and beyond what they should be paying for energy. But there are plenty of great deals on the market and suppliers regularly offer discounts of up to 40% or more for an entire year to new customers.
The Estimated Annual Bill, or EAB, is the most important tool for consumers when comparing prices on bonkers.ie as this is the estimated amount you will pay for the entire year. It is calculated using the average energy consumption figures provided by the CRU and the unit rates of the specific tariff. The EAB figure quoted factors in any cashback offered, taxes and levies charged, as well as the standing charge for your chosen tariff.
One thing consumers should bear in mind is that, where cashback is involved, the amount advertised is generally deducted from your first bill and is never paid via post or via cheque, for example.
When comparing energy deals on bonkers.ie you will also have the option of entering your exact energy consumption, should you know it, for a more thorough estimated annual bill.
Start saving on energy today
Our free energy comparison service allows you to compare the different prices and energy deals on the market. You can select a provider who offers the best value packages that meet your gas and electricity needs.
We will provide you with all the calculations we used during our comparison process so you can see exactly what you’ll be charged and why. Therefore, you will be able to see the estimated savings you could make with each individual energy tariff.
At the moment someone who switches supplier could save up to 30-40% off standard rates for the first year.
If you are still in contract and don’t want to pay an early exit fee to switch supplier, we’ve also got you covered! Instead of switching, consider adjusting your habits around the home to reduce your energy consumption. Here are 15 ways to use less electricity and save money, and 10 ways that you can heat your home for less.
It’s also worthwhile checking to see if you can avail of the free electricity allowance or the winter fuel allowance.
Energy switching guide series
Did you find this guide useful? If your answer is yes, then take a look at the other helpful articles we have compiled into our energy switching guide series.
- This guide will give you a brief overview of the steps involved in switching.
- Discover how you can compare energy suppliers here.
- Become an expert when it comes to switching gas and electricity supplier.
- Learn all about the energy cooling-off period in this guide.
- Here’s how you can easily read and understand your energy bills.
- Get to grips with energy switching terms with this helpful guide.
- Check out our list of commonly asked switching-related questions.
Don’t forget that you can stay up to date with all of the latest energy news and top saving tips with our blogs and guides.
Go one step further in your saving journey by seeing how you could save money on other household costs. Our comparison tools cover a range of other services such as banking, broadband, and insurance products.
Need any help?
Do you have any questions about switching energy supplier? If so, we’d be happy to help. You can easily get in touch with us over on our social media channels.