8 November 2010
We all do it; the utilities paperwork arrives and we're so busy that, instead of dealing with it there and then, we put it to one side with a mental note to look at it later. The next day something else arrives and goes on top of the pile, and it's forgotten forever. But by failing to check how much you're paying and when you're due to renew could mean you're missing out on some big savings.
It is estimated that Forum members collectively pay over £1,500,000 more than they need for their energy supply every year!
Little attention is paid to gas and electricity bills, but with current price increases they can have a significant impact on your profitability. So, it's worth being aware of how much you're paying - and how much you could save.
Can you answer the following questions:
Do you know how much you pay per unit or kWh?
Do you know if you have a contract for your energy supply?
And if you do know you are in a contract, do you know when it ends?
Almost all utility contracts are "evergreen", which means they have small print that allows the provider to rollover the contract for a further year or two, if the customer does not respond to correspondence sent to them.
Many contracts require up to 3 months' termination notice before you are able to look for and accept a lower rate. As many of our members have already found, they are not aware of this until a few weeks before the contract finishes. By this time it is too late and the contract has been ‘rolled over' for up to two years at non-competitive – and often higher - rates by their supplier.
Due to a lack of industry control, each supplier sets up their own rules. This makes it as hard as possible for you, the customer, to know what is going on. Cancelling agreements does NOT mean that your provider will cut off supply either immediately or at the end of the contract. All that will happen is that they will be at pains to give the very best renewal price, because they will know that you can move your supply to accept a better price.
The length of notice you need to give your current supplier before cancelling your current contract depends on your supplier. Use the information below as a guide:
Three months: British Gas Business, Npower
Two months: Scottish Power
One month: EDF, Scottish & Southern Energy and E-on
(Note: E-on will only accept your notice in a set "window" just before the contract end date.)
You must also make allowances for non-arrival of your renewal letters, or for them ending up in your pending tray until it is too late and your provider has rolled over your contract into another year at a higher price.
How the Forum can help
If you are unsure of your gas and electricity contract details and are too busy to investigate, now is the time to contact the Forum. We can put you in touch with our partners at Utility Options. They have been helping members with their energy supply since 1995 and can help you find out the true situation with regard to your contracts, find the best price for you, and the good news is that it is a free service.
As Utility Options claim a small fee from the supplier, they do not invoice you for their services. You will receive a full quotation service, back-up and technical support.
Find out more about how you can get the best prices for gas and electricity or call the member helpline on 0845 130 1722 (members) or 0845 612 6266 (non-members).