What you need to know before switching your energy supplier online

In this week’s Whiteboard Friday, find out what you need to know before switching your energy supplier online. What types of tariffs are out there? What’s the important information to get from your energy bill and where to find it? What personal details you need to switch your energy? Our Energy expert Guy Thompson answers these 3 questions.

Video Transcript

“Good afternoon and welcome to another episode of Whiteboard Friday with MyUtilityGenius. As you can see, dressed for the tennis: looking good in pink. First thing we want to do is to look at is what you need to know about switching as last time we examined the fact that 65% of you don’t switch and have never switched. Out of the people who switch, only 27% of them actually switch online. Now, what we do know is that 62% of those, switch specifically with relationship to price. In order to actually save some money, what do you need to know about switching online?

So the first thing is you need to know where you live. Well you probably don’t live at this postcode as it is Buckingham Palace, and I don’t think the queen is ready to switch with us… You need to know your postcode because your postcode tells the supplier: which of the 14 regions you live in and these 14 regions have very distinctive prices. So without a postcode you are not going to get a price that is appropriate or relevant to you. Once you have put your postcode in, there are a couple of things you need to start to look at. One: are you switching dual fuel? Are you switching your gas? Are you switching your electricity? Second: do you want to go for a variable tariff or a fixed price tariff? Some of these things we are going to examine later on in other Whiteboard Fridays in terms of what is the difference between a variable and a fixed price tariff… third: you also need to know at the payment type: Are you going to pay by cash or cheque? Are you going to pay by Direct Debit? There is a clear advantage of going for Direct Debit in terms of the price. Then, do you want to go online or offline? Going for online billing it reduces the cost to supplier, therefore you tend to get a better price but you don’t get a paper bill in your hand that you can examine and do whatever you want with it… Last thing is: Do you you want to go green? Again within that sphere there is a lot of additional information around what types of green tariffs you can get? Where that energy was sourced from?

To get a lot of this information what you are going to need to do to get to the point of actually switching your energy is to understand how to read your bill. First thing you need to do is to know the name of your current supplier. You would be amazed about how many people don’t know who their current supplier is, especially if you are on an online tariff and haven’t received a bill for a while. You also need to know what your tariff is from the supplier in question. The reason why you need to know your current tariff is that most switching sites will give you a saving based on your current tariff. If you get your current tariff wrong, your saving number you are going to get is going to be wrong as well. So make sure you know what your tariff is, don’t guess or don’t just pick Standard Tariff because Standard is one of the most expensive tariff so it will exaggerate your savings. Then, you need to find what your consumption is. The consumption will give you an idea of volume and an idea of the quantity of saving you are going to make. If you use spend be very careful: spend is often a monthly Direct Debit number and it can sometimes not reflect the amount of energy you are using. So you could find yourself overestimating or underestimating your energy consumption by using Spend. Finally, other things you are going to need to look at are your MPAN and your MPRN numbers, that’s: Meter Point Administration Number for electricity and Meter Point Reference Number for gas. That’s two of the dullest things you are ever come across… That’s what a MPAN looks like on your bill and that’s the MPRN which is almost impossible to find on your bill so you need to hunt it down. We will have guides on actually how to find that stuff elsewhere on our website and you can find that on other websites no doubt.

Then make sure you get your personal details right: your postcode, your basic details, your bank details, your residential status… But you will get results on energy switching sites simply by going through this stuff (showing I Energy Tariffs and II How to read your bill). What we will aim to look at next week is effectively in more detail: What do we mean by Variable and Fixed? What do we mean by Green? What are the implications of Online and Offline? Until then, have a great week…”

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