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Can we win the Gas and Electricity price wars?

by SMD 


Can we win the Gas and Electricity price wars by switching suppliers?We can all benefit from the current situation in the UK energy market but what should we do, who should we choose?

Why do we find ourselves thinking ‘why should I put up with being treated this way by my energy suppliers?’ The simple truth which is hard to swallow is that we bring this on ourselves and the big guys are just exploiting a weekness in our attitudes towards energy switching in the UK.

Our most common reaction to energy switching is to switch off and pretend we didn’t hear anything! We are either too scared to switch suppliers now in case for some reason their own supplier becomes cheaper in time or simply can’t be bothered.

We think nothing about driving an extra few miles to find a cheaper service station to fuel our cars, which probably saves us nothing as we’ve just wasted more fuel getting there and possible caused minor damage to the engine by sending all the rubbish from the bottom of the tank through the engine, would we make the same efforts to save money on our Gas and Electrity? Don’t be ridiculous!

The big suppliers who we give our loyalty to are simply making money from our laziness and ignorance. We think nothing of spending hours ringing around insurance companies or surfing the net for better deals for our mobile phones, we’ll even consider switching bank accounts for a better deal or £100 cashback. With our ability to find the best deals why is it that we seem to always overlook one of the most simplest ways of saving money.

It would be easy to blame suppliers for higher prices but with such a high volume of loyal customers, it’s our fault that we are not getting the best deals because we are not voting with our feet. There are loads of better priced suppliers out there and they have great customer service too, but it’s so much easier to just moan about the prices and do nothing.

I think that the problem is that when the Energy market was deregulated, the whole country was inundated by a knock at the door – just as we were tucking in to our dinner! Hardcore door to door salesmen and women (or ‘Field Sales Consultants’) were sent out with two missions. One was to interupt your Shepherds Pie, and the other was to convince you that by changing that little name on the top of your Gas or Electric bill – you would be rich enough to buy a Fleet of Ferari’s or purchase that island in the Bahama’s you’ve had your eyes on! Ok – an exageration but people were mislead to the point where TV’s Watchdog would have enough content to run many shows relating to disgruntled customers who switched with such sales tactics. Of course there are much tighter regulations in place to look after the consumer these days and in fact, everything is now stacked in the favour of the poor little consumer yet many of us still do nothing.

Is this still in our minds? Or is it just an excuse to do nothing. The fact remains that millions of UK homes are wasting £millions every year on over priced energy bills and we seem to be happy to carry on trying to ignore the fact that Mr lower priced supplier can save us up to and over £330 per year. Imagine if our house or car insurance quotes came out that much cheaper, we’d bite their hands so fast that we could get arrested for a hand biting related incident (not sure if this is an actual crime in the UK but I wouldn’t be surprised). Of course the crazy part of it is that many of these lower priced suppliers actually offer a better level of customer service than some of the more expensive suppliers according to figures found on many price comparison sites such as Money Angels.

So, can we win from the Gas and Electricity price wars? Of course we can, we just have to do something about it ourselves and stop waiting for a miraculous price decrease that may never happen. My advice is switch now and if another company offers a better deal, switch again and again, and again. We are only ever have to give our suppliers 28 days notice so take back control and be a more assertive consumer.

A Guest article by Lewis Taylor, an expert in his field. His UK energy switching site, Money Angels can help you switch suppliers.

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