New survey suggests energy costs more of a concern than mortgage payments
A new pan-European survey by Kingfisher Group has revealed that rising energy costs are the biggest concern for households across the continent. The survey of 17,000 consumers discovered that nearly two thirds of people cited rising energy prices as their main concern, with just a quarter worrying most about their rent or mortgage payments.
With so much pessimism around rising gas and electricity bills, it is no wonder savvy consumers in the UK have started changing suppliers, with media reports suggesting that more than two million households have switched away from the major energy suppliers during the past year. With small suppliers now able to offer comparable customer service to their bigger rivals, the cost difference is becoming all the more important.
Indeed it is the small energy suppliers who are setting the standard for cheap gas and electricity deals with first:utility, Cooperative Energy and extraenergy announcing new tariffs under £1,000 per year in the past few weeks.
The new deals are Cooperative Energy’s Fair & Square September 2015 at £989 at medium usage annually, first:utility’s iSave Fixed v27 September 2015 coming in at £992 annually at medium usage and extraenergy’s Fixed Price September 2015 v13 coming in at £994 on average at medium usage – these prices will be fixed until September 2015.
The bigger players aren’t standing idle in this price war, with both ScottishPower and EDF also offering competitively priced fixed tariffs, meaning that now is a great time for consumers to tackle their energy costs prior to the onset of winter.
Is now the time to switch?
If you haven’t already compared your energy costs we recommend that you do so immediately. The Telegraph Energy Switching Service, provided by Energyhelpline, can help you find the best possible deal for your area. Our free and impartial service searches all of the suppliers and tariffs to provide you with a clear picture of how much you could save. With many suppliers recently launching long-term fixed tariffs, you could grab a deal that would insulate you from any rises for as long as three years!
The process of switching is very straightforward. You simply need to provide your address and basic details about your current supplier and usage, which can be found on a recent gas and electricity bill. Once in hand, our calculator can compare what you spend currently with the best deals on the market, and presents you with the savings you could make. Not sure of how much you use? No problem – we have an estimator that can help
you calculate your current usage based on the size of your home and how many people live there.
You may also be unaware that simply changing your payment method could save you a significant amount. It is estimated that those paying by monthly direct debit save £100 annually compared with those who pay by cash or cheque. In some cases, smaller suppliers could offer you a great saving with a more responsive service as well.
What the experts say
Mark Todd, director of Energyhelpline, said: “Households are struggling with sky high energy prices and research shows that millions are now fearful of turning on the heating even when very cold. It appears that a seismic shift is starting to occur in the energy market and at this rate millions will have left the Big Six for cheaper prices and better customer service before the end of 2014.”
“For the first time in two-and-a-half years, there are now energy deals available costing less than £1,000 a year for switchers. Wholesale prices are now around 15pc down on this time last year and small suppliers are taking advantage nimbly launching great value cut price offers.
“When small suppliers often offer lower prices and better service it’s no wonder that so many customers are switching away from the big boys.”
When small suppliers often offer lower prices and better service it’s no wonder that so many customers are switching away from the big boys.
The Telegraph Energy comparison tool provided by Energyhelpline takes into account your region, usage and payment method to find you the most accurate quotes. Visit telegraph.co.uk/switchenergy or call us on 0800 542 7158