IRISH consumers are missing out on a fortune in energy savings – with some €370 million going unclaimed annually – writes AOIFE BANNON
A household with average consumption and a gas and electricity supply could save €343.33 per year, according to new stats from bonkers.ie.
And it’s not just energy where were losing out on cash savings.
With countless providers on the market we should be shopping around for discounts on broadband, TV and home phones.
Even mortgage rates are becoming more competitive, as are interest rates on credit cards and personal loans. So why are many of us spending so unwisely?
ENERGY: SAVE UP TO €343
- It’s not always cheapest to take gas and electricity from the same supplier.
- Dual fuel deals (taking gas and electricity from the same supplier) usually do offer good pricing and the convenience of having one bill and one payment.
- All suppliers now offer a way to pay a fixed monthly amount by direct debit. The amount charged is based on your previous consumption (which your supplier can look up) and can be a huge help with budgeting. These payment plans will help customers avoid big winter bills.
- Some deals suit households with high usage and some are better for households with low usage. Knowing how much you pay or how much you consume can help determine the best plan for you. A site like bonkers.ie will show the best deals based around your consumption.
- Most of the best deals require payment by direct debit and online billing. The suppliers save money this way and pass on some of the savings to customers.
- Only around 15 per cent of household switch for a better deal each year which means that most of us are paying expensive standard rates. The fastest and easiest way to save money on gas and electricity is to switch to a discount plan.
- You may think you’re on a discount, but if you’ve been with your supplier for more than a year, you are most likely paying expensive standard rates. That’s because all discount deals expire after 12 months and supplier roll you over on to their most expensive standard rate, and unlike your car insurance provider, they don’t have to tell you.
DIGITAL TV, BROADBAND AND HOME PHONE: SAVE UP TO €300
- Broadband providers may be limited in your area. Once you see which ones operate there, the next thing to consider is the type of user you are. If you are a light internet user and mainly use the web for things like opening emails and checking Facebook, a connection with a speed below 10Mbps should suffice.
- If your usage is slightly heavier, and you occasionally watch RTE Player and view videos on YouTube, a connection of between 10 and 25Mbps should do the trick.
- An unlimited package with fast speeds may be advisable if you have a number of users in your household. Most modern Irish homes have multiple devices that need an internet connection, such as TVs, gaming consoles, set-top boxes, and of course laptops, computers, tablets and mobile phones. Fibre optic packages are ideal for this. And if in doubt, go for unlimited data.
CURRENT ACCOUNTS – SAVE €120
- Just 1 per cent of Irish people switched bank accounts last year despite the fact that the Central Bank has a code that forces your bank to help you is you want to move elsewhere.
- With many of the country’s biggest banks cranking up fees in recent years from nothing to at least €120, it’s worth looking at Permanent TSB and other banks who offer current accounts with no quarterly fees.
MOBILE PHONE: SAVE €292
- According to the Consumer Watchdog, consumers tend to stick with their mobile provider because they reckon switching is too much work.
- But a new service called KillBiller analyses our calls, your data and your texts and tells you which plan you should switch to based on your actual usage.
- SEE bonkers.ie for more tips.