Newest Review: ... me realise how dependent we all are on it. Or maybe it was because I was sitting in the dark with my housemate...with about 3 Halloween pum... more
Electricity Companies - Some Hints and Tips
Electricity in general
Member Name: shewhoguards
Electricity in general
Checking your meter regularly is the single way you can make life easier for you in electric terms. While meter-readers will be sent out regularly, often they are sent out at times when normal people are working which can result in estimated bills. You may think this is not your problem, but when you get a bill for a couple of thousand pounds because your account has been chronically under-estimated for a while... suddenly it is.
Take a reading at least once a quarter and call it in, or log it online - most companies now offer that facility. If your company has a price change, check it again. This is because when they work out your bill they will average it between readings. So, if your usage goes down - either intentionally or just due to summer - after prices go up, you may end up paying more than you need to at the higher price.
It's worth also checking it every now and then for your own sake. Occasionally an appliance, unbeknownst to you, will go faulty and just start EATING electricity. Not only is this expensive but it's a fire hazard. Check your meter regularly, and if you see a sudden spike in units try to work out why.
As the TV keeps telling us, prices are changing all the time. If you've been with your supplier a good while, it's worth considering a look around. Usually I would suggest starting with uswitch and seeing what they suggest.
Electricity is an area where what's cheapest for your friend/gran/aunt isn't neccesarily cheaper for you. Firstly, prices vary a good deal by area - the cheapest supplier in London will not be the same as the cheapest in Somerset. Other than that however, your usage will take a difference here. For instance, my last supplier (Southern) offered very cheap units but had a daily standing charge. Because my usage is extremely low, this was not the best deal for me, but for someone with heavier usage it would have been excellent.
IN NO EVENT SIGN UP WITH A DOOR TO DOOR SELLER. It doesn't matter the company, it doesn't matter what he offers you. Smile, take the details, then go online. I believe ALL utility companies are currently offering internet deals cheaper than you can get door to door.
Tricky one this. A lot of places will now offer to hold prices for you for a certain amount of months or years.
What they don't mention is that the price per unit that you start on will usually be higher than on their regular rate at that time. There may also be termination charges if you wish to switch companies before the price-fixing date is past. Check, ask questions, then work out the best deal for you.
Again, the TV has been very loud on this one. Prepayment meters are indeed usually more expensive than a regular meter.
Most companies will charge to take them out if you have been with them for less than a year. So, if you are switching supplier, call your current supplier FIRST and ask if they can switch you to normal supply, and then switch companies once that's done.
If you're moving house, always check to see if there is a prepayment meter in your new house. If there is, ask the current ownerif he can arrange to have if changed before you move in. If he can't, either because he has debt on it or because he hasn't himself been with his supplier for a year you may wish to find out how much a meter change would be and negotiate that into the cost of the house.
Ever changed supplier because your current supplier's meter readers are unreliable, or you get a lot of electricity cuts? I have some bad news for you. It doesn't matter which supplier you're with - meter readers and the "backbone" of the network are arranged by area, and the companies contract them out. So, even if your meter reader works for British Gas, if you switch to Southern they will pay British Gas to send the same person around.
Another important point - electricity companies have the right and obligation to check your meter every now and then - I believe it's once every two years. This is partly to ensure the customer isn't lying when he gives readings, but also partly to ensure the meter isn't about to burst into flames or held together with duct tape. If they send you a letter asking you to arrange an appointment, do so, even if you have to take a half-day off work. I know it's frustrating, but it is a legal obligation, and they can and will get a warrant if they have to.
As I said, handling electric companies can be a tricky business. Hopefully these hints and tips will help a bit.
Summary: Just some quick things you might not have known!
More reviews in the field of Utility Service
- Power-LESS Customers at n power
- NPower = Nightmares
- British Gas ( its all hot air )
- Massive bills, not their fault! yeah right.
- STAY AWAY FROM NPOWER AT ALL COSTS
- EDF Energy - beware of direct debit
- Never use Dynorod Plumbing
- WARNING !! use SSE at your OWN RISK !!
- Avoid NPower unless you want an awful and expensive experience!!
- Power with a conscience