Energy Shopping is like buying a good pair of shoes
All the regulations, laws and clauses in the world will not change your relationship with the energy market and your energy bill if you don’t initiate some changes yourself.
Energy really isn’t that different from shoes, clothes, smart phones, insurance, groceries, electronics, second hand cars or anything else you buy; apart perhaps from the fact that as a product it is substantially more boring (well maybe insurance wins that battle on reflection!). Yet most of us end up all bemused and sheepish when it comes to tackling the companies that sell us our energy. We will merrily walk down the high street; wandering in and out of Topshop, Next, Jigsaw, Gap, M&S, Primark, Office, Clarkes, John Lewis and a myriad of other stores in search of the perfect trousers /jumper /loafers /T-shirt /socks /dress /Jimmy Choo’s or whatever latest fashion accessory is on our shopping list. What we certainly don’t do is give up before we start the search; instead choosing to spend the rest of the year bitching about that ghastly pair of 9 year old Converse trainers we bought on sale and which not only do we have to wear every day, holes and all, but we also have to repurchase annually at a price 10% more expensive than the previous year.
Somehow we have convinced ourselves that when it comes to energy suppliers, “Well that’s different isn’t it squire. I mean, they’re all old trainers really anyway aren’t they – stocked at a completely uniform price with the gentle aroma of a 20 mile run pre-impregnated in their lumpy, ill-fitting material made from refined porcupine quills and rabbit droppings. Why should I bother to look around – they’re all the same”
Rubbish! It’s an absolute load of old cobblers if you don’t mind the shoe metaphor continuing. After trying to legislate competition into existence in the face of such resounding “do nothingness” OFGEM has decided to adopt a new and very worthwhile approach. Their objective, were they to have a mission statement (which they do but I can’t remember it), is to help us all understand that changing energy supplier is like going shopping for a new pair of shoes. If you know your size and you know what you like (in the case of your energy supply that means payment terms, paper bills vs online account management etc) then if you look hard enough you’re bound to find something better. That’s especially true in energy shopping because chances are the product you’re on right now is the energy equivalent of a pair of mouldy old pink bunny ear slippers that you bought at the market after a pint too many down The King’s Head; and which the dog’s gone and chewed a bit.
You should go to OFGEM’s site, www.goenergyshopping.co.uk for there you will find a barrel full of advice around how best to change from being an energy victim into being a savvy energy shopper to get a better deal for you. Naturally as a switching site we are bound to suggest to you that in fact the best shoes – I mean energy suppliers – are to be found in our fine store; from here we display every product option you could wish for. We would see ourselves as the Amazon of energy. But there’s plenty of space on the energy high street for different shopping experiences. Maybe you really like pink bunny slippers but you want the latest model? Well then – toddle on down to the Bunny Slipper store and pick yourself a smart new 2018 pair rather than hanging onto that vintage model your better half insists is brilliant because you got a free shoe horn with it back in 2011.
For a country of shopkeepers, and for an economy firmly rooted in consumer choice and consumer activity, we are remarkably bad energy shoppers and there is no reason for that to be the case. OFGEM have simplified tariffs, there are more suppliers than there have been for years (including some pretty hard hitting discounters if that’s your thing); and the means of comparing and switching these tariffs and suppliers easily and accurately are everywhere if you look. If your local coffee shop started to charge you £8 for a latte you wouldn’t just suck it up; you’d move! OFGEM are trying to get you to think in the same way about your energy supply with their energy shopper campaign. You should give it a go, you do in every other walk of life. And apologies to any of you pink bunny ear slipper wearing, £8 latte swilling types – no offence was meant!
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