Why You May Be Asked to Pay More at the Gas and Electricity Meter
Have you ever noticed how confusing switching energy suppliers can be? It’s not just the tariff changes, annual contract end dates, and Renewable Gas Discounts that make switching energy suppliers such a hassle. There is often uncertainty about when your existing gas or electricity supplier will shut their doors – and quite why they should when gas and electricity are a stable form of household utility. It is important to understand the reasons for your current supplier decided to change their prices and why you should now. This article aims to help you understand this confusing and somewhat confusing process.
The main reason for a utility company changing its rates
is competition from new energy suppliers. To stay ahead of the game, utility companies often introduce price increases every few years. They do this to make their customers more aware of new competition and eager to take advantage of all the good deals on offer. A good example of this was seen around the Christmas and New Year period last year when many gas and electricity suppliers dramatically increased prices to combat the recession. Many customers saw this as an opportunity to get even better deals elsewhere and took full advantage of it. Unfortunately, for the average UK household, it meant we had to pay more than ever before for our daily utility bills, and the recession lingered on.
Another major reason why utility companies increase their prices
is to encourage retail choice. As the majority of us have regular access to gas and electricity supply, it is almost a given that most households will want to continue to use these utilities regardless of the current economic climate. If you choose a new retail supplier, you are likely to be charged a higher price for gas and electricity. Some companies offer incentive tariffs to customers who switch to their brand new supplier. So while your utility company may think it is in your best interests to increase prices on gas and electricity to retain you as a regular customer, its competitors will be doing the same thing and could end up passing on the increase to you.
A third reason why you may be asked to pay more
at the gas and electricity meter is that you are using a dual fuel system. This may include propane or natural gas supply, but in most cases, it also means you have another form of energy, such as electricity, available to you. If you use a dual fuel system then it increases the amount of power you use, which results in higher energy bills. In some cases, the energy company can also pass on part of the increase to you, so you are indirectly being asked to pay more for your energy. However, if you buy a smaller than usual tank to reduce the amount of gas and electricity you use, then your monthly energy bill will be lower.
Before you start asking your electricity supplier for a price increase
it is worth checking your current electricity plan. In some cases, your current plan could come to an end early, meaning you would suddenly need to find an alternative energy source. While switching to a new energy supplier may not be financially viable, you might still be able to switch to their plan at the same time, saving yourself a considerable amount of money in the process. However, while most energy providers now offer online electricity plans, it may still be easier to find an alternative energy supplier by searching the phone directory or asking friends and family.
An alternative way to compare the prices of your energy suppliers
is to phone the energy companies themselves. By calling their direct telephone number, or their website, you can ask for a current quote. Most companies allow you to ask up to eight different questions about your energy supplier before you are quoted. You can ask the following questions: the price per kilowatt-hour, how many months of energy will my energy plan give me, what type of installation will I need, and whether there are any additional fees for using this energy source. When you ask for a current quotation, most companies should provide you with a current quote for your home, rather than an estimate based on the estimated usage of the last six months.