Nearly all of the Big Six energy suppliers have recently announced price rises that are expected to affect as many as 7.4 million customers. In total, these price increases will cost UK customers an additional £400 million more than they already pay, or roughly £55 per customer each year.
On the back of a freezing cold winter like the one we’ve just had, it’s more important than ever for customers to shop around for the best tariffs. Encouragingly, the energy market has seen a dramatic increase in the number of households switching to smaller, cheaper suppliers in recent years, with 660,000 customers switching in February 2018 alone. Surprisingly, 8 out of 10 people still buy their energy from a Big Six supplier, whose prices are often around £300 a year more expensive than the cheaper deals.
A major obstacle preventing people from switching is computer literacy. Switching is heavily geared towards using comparison websites like uSwitch, which can alienate some of the most vulnerable energy customers. This is why BHESCo is a champion for the Big Energy Saving Network, helping customers switch and save by giving independent advice.
For those of us who are able to shop around there are some great tariffs and big savings to be found. Take five minutes to do an online comparison at Uswitch, or see how much you could save by switching to our community energy tariff with Our Power, the UK’s most ethical energy tariff who supply 100% clean electricity and do important work to combat fuel poverty.
Another significant barrier to switching is access to the Warm Home Discount, a scheme providing financial support to vulnerable households. Many of the newer, smaller suppliers such as Solarplicity, Tonik, or IRESA do not support the scheme, meaning eligible Warm Home Discount customers would miss out on a £140 rebate if they switched to these companies. For this reason, many people can have limited options when it comes to choosing a new energy supplier. As part of their ethical programme, Our Power have opted into offering the Warm Home Discount, even though it is not their obligation.
For property owners who are looking to defend themselves against price rises in the long term, the best thing you can do is to start generating your own renewable electricity and heat, as well as taking active steps to reduce your energy consumption. BHESCo work with homeowners in Sussex to install renewable energy and energy saving technologies at no upfront cost, delivering immediate savings for our customers.
To begin your road to energy independence get in contact to book a survey of your home or business. You can also give us a call for help with switching tariff or supplier by calling us on 0800 999 6671.