If you want to get started saving money on your gas and electric bills, the biggest cost factor of all will highly likely depend on your energy supplier and in particular the energy tariff (prices you’re paying per unit of energy) you are on.
If you haven’t checked your energy tariff on a comparison website in over a year, you could very well save yourself hundreds of pounds.
My top tip for getting the best value gas and electric tariff on the market is to visit the Cheap Energy Club.
Read on to find out exactly why I personally use Cheap Energy Club over any other options. Below see a real example of how when my current energy deal ended, overnight I would have been £360+ a year worse off if I didn’t take immediate action and switch.
So literally, don’t delay, start saving today!
If I had wanted to switch 2 weeks prior I would still be tied into a fixed rate deal with dual fuel exit fees of £40. So bearing those fees in mind, my current deal was only £30 a year more than the current best-priced deal on the market. Pretty good I’d say.
What’s absolutely shocking though is that as soon as my current 1-year fixed deal ends, I will be moved to the standard tariff. From then onwards I would immediately be overpaying at an annual rate of £370-£380 a year.
Comparing that standard tariff to the best alternative deal on the market amounts to a 35% price difference for exactly the same supply of gas an electric! That’s £30 a month worse off, and money which, I’d rather have in my pocket.
This is why it’s so important to be on the ball, ready to switch as soon as your fixed deal ends. That’s the key reason I use the Cheap Energy Club. Behind the scenes, they constantly monitor prices. They will inform you via email when a deal is available at your pre-set level of saving alert.
How long Does it Take To Compare?
The process of comparing rates takes 5-10 minutes. The first time may take a little longer, as it helps if you get some of your energy usage data from your energy supplier. However, from then on all details are stored in Cheap Energy Club, so the next time you switch it will be a lot quicker. Literally login and get a comparison.
Comparing To See How Much You Could Save
Once the comparisons have been made, they appear in order of cheapest but note the cashback is extra, so that could actually make one deal further down the list slightly cheaper overall.
As you can see from my example comparison images below, if I switched now, with 2 weeks until my current cheap energy deal expires and no exit fee I would save £6 a month, £72 a year.
However, when my current deal ends, I will be put on the standard energy tariff and be overpaying by £383+ a year compared to cheaper deals available. Now that’s a saving, and well worth a switch!
As a side note to the images below, there are 3 options for comparing your energy prices. I selected the option for it to show the saving from when my fixed rate deal ends.
I could choose to compare with my current deal or a combination of the 2 deals factoring in when my current deal ends. It’s up to you what you choose.
How to Compare And Choose The Best Deal For You
Once you have seen how much you can save overall, as seen above, you simply look down the list of energy deals which are presented in order of cheapest price and make your decision.
It’s up to you how much emphasis you put on price or other factors such as “Latest poll rating” or possibly your own past experiences with particular energy firms etc.
Here’s the top 3 I was shown:
Remember Cashback Is on Top of Savings
If you can switch directly via Cheap Energy Club, you will receive £30 in cashback for doing so. In the right-hand column, you’ll see the orange “Switch & get cashback*” message, as shown below.
So as you can see, the deals you can switch to directly offer you £30 cashback. This is in addition to your savings from the cheaper energy tariff. So, if in this instance, I choose to switch to Sainsbury’s Energy, I will be making savings of £367 a year, plus an additional £30, bringing the total saving to £397! This actually makes more of a saving than the higher ranked deals shown above, which don’t offer additional cash back and also, not as simple a switch.
About Cheap Energy Club
Their slogan is “Helping you get no hassle, CONSTANTLY cheap gas and electricity” and that is exactly what they do.
Cheap Energy Club:
- Compares all the market
- Has over 2 million members and therefore can negotiate with energy companies for even better deals, such as The Big Switch
- Offers extra cashback on top of savings (for selected deals)
- Emails you when you can make savings by switching again or your deal current deals ends
- Only emails in relation to switching your gas and electric. No other unwanted spam.
How Long to Fix for?
In reality, no one knows the future direction of energy prices. Typically prices trend, so if they are going down, it’s likely they will continue to fall. Same as when they are going up. However, it’s never clear when the trend will change.
As you can see above, most deals were 1-year fixes. By clicking the “Top Picks” tab I could see the best of various other options, one was a 2-year fix:
One deal of interest was a £266 a year saving plus £30 cashback, for a total saving of £297 in the first year. However, I will stick with the 1 year saving fix, saving £397 in the first year. I’ll look to switch again after 12 months and hope I’ll be on estimated savings of £90 or lower the following year. Ideally, with some cashback on top.
How to Switch Energy Suppliers
For some deals, Cheap Energy Club can’t directly handle the switch. You have to click the blue link in the right-hand column and proceed with the switch directly via the energy supplier’s website. Before you do so, note the exact name of the tariff you want to switch to. Remember to go back to the Cheap Energy club website and update your details so they can keep you informed about when best to switch from your chosen deal in the future.
To proceed with the switch takes just a few minutes. Fill in the form answering the following questions and you’ll be on your way.
- Telephone Number
- Date of Birth
- Mothers Maiden
- Smart Meter yes or no
- Loyalty Card (in this case Nectar)
- Marketing Preferences
- Direct Debit – Bank Details (see *)
- Confirm Billing Address
- Time at Address
- Paperless Billing (sometimes cheaper)
- Choose Payment Date
* For Direct Debits a Savvy Extra, if you can, set up from a bank account that gives cashback for energy bills.
Note the message that states you have 14 days your application to the energy provider.
Click Proceed to Switch
At this point, you’ll be presented with a guide to the timeline of the switch process:
The timeline screen should also show the energy company’s telephone number, in the case of Sainsbury’s Energy, it was a free phone number, so if for whatever reason you should choose to cancel, that’s free to do.
There is a cooling off period of 14 days, should you at any point decide not to switch.
That’s it you’re done. Hopefully, hundreds of pounds better off for about 10-15 minutes effort, if that!
How Much Will You Save If You Switch
How much each individual person saves on switching will vary widely depending on a number of factors.
The number of years or months since you last switched for years, your total energy usage, your actual location (because not all energy companies supply every area), will all be factors in how much you can save.
As I’ve highlighted, I was previously on a good deal, and I’ve saved £397 just by switching from the standard tariff the energy company moved me to at the end of the deal.
You will receive an email confirming your Switch is in progress and further updates as each stage of the Switch until it completes.
Stay Constantly Notified All Year Round of Cheap Prices
Upon signing up to the Cheap Energy Club you can choose to be notified via email whenever a deal is available that will save you a minimum of £25 up to £250. You simply select the £25 increment at the saving level you think is worth switching at, for example, to be notified when a possible saving of £50, or £75 etc
This is the key reason for me, why I think the Cheap Energy Club is by far the best way to keep on top on my energy bills. It is literally the ideal service for consistently getting the best price for your gas and electric.
If for example, you set an alert at say £50, you can review the deals. You might even get £30 cashback on top. Equivalent for some, to a day’s work, for just a few minutes of your time.
During some years, as energy prices were steadily falling, I switched multiple times to cheaper deals and picked up the cashback on top each time.
Big Switch Events
Every so often the Cheap Energy Club has what it calls a “Big Switch Event”. With over 2 million members, the Cheap Energy Club can negotiate exclusive market-beating rates with a provider for a limited amount of time, supposedly at a rate cheaper than the current cheapest rates.
As it happens I switched last year to their Big Switch offer. However this year, there are a few other deals which are cheaper for me than the Big Switch deal. In other areas of the country or maybe for different energy usages the Big Switch provider deal may well be the cheapest option.
Loyalty – What Loyalty?
Some people stay with their energy supplier out of loyalty. I’ve been told, by someone that switched and made huge savings that they have the best energy supplier and were going to stay with them.
This so the wrong attitude to have and actually rewards the energy companies behaviour of enticing customers with cheap deals and then retaining them longer term on unsuspectingly very expensive deals!
There is no loyalty. As soon as your fixed rate ends you’re overpaying! You can clearly see this is the case in my comparison examples above. The prices increased 35%!
At the very least, make a note to once a year carry out a 5-minute gas and electric comparison check. See where you stand as soon as you get confirmation from your supplier your fixed rate deal is ending, or whenever you receive an alert email from Cheap Energy Club.
There are no rules in switching back and forth, to and from the same energy providers over time. I’ve been back and forth to Eon, SSE, Sainsburys Energy and others, multiple times over the years.
Let me tell you about loyalty. Being with Eon on a 1-year fix, I find out Eon do in fact have a cheaper deal than the standard tariff, however, it’s not available to existing customers! That’s loyalty for you. Even their cheaper deal was still a couple of hundred pounds above the cheapest deals available across the whole market.
When is it best to Switch?
The process of switching can take at least a couple of weeks. Ideally, you should look to switch as soon as you get confirmation from your energy supplier that your fixed rate deal is coming to an end and there are no longer any exit fees to pay from this point.
Your energy provider should mail you to inform you when your plan is coming to end and your new rate.
What About Exit Fees?
Once you have received the notification letter from your current energy supplier that your current deal is coming to an end, you no longer have to pay any leaving penalties. Even if your deal had exit or cancellation fees as part of the deal, they are all now void. This is in accordance with Ofgem regulations.
Prior to this time, your exit fees will be enforced. However, even then, at times of falling energy prices, new much cheaper deals may become available and switching might well be worth incurring the fees.
Can We Get Cheaper Energy Via Other Means?
Before confirming that the Cheap Energy Club is the best option for achieving the lowest energy price tariffs, I thought it only right I attempt to get an even cheaper deal.
I tested out other Energy comparison sites and tariffs on well-known cashback sites.
More Energy Comparision Site Options
There are many other switching services, probably the most well known for energy is Uswitch.
Each comparison site could potentially have an exclusive market-beating rate.
Uswitch offered 2 ways to view their deal options. Plans they can directly switch you to and whole markets, whereby you go directly to the energy website and do the switch yourself.
However, as you can see from the image below, their cheapest prices, didn’t compare well to what the Cheap Energy Club offered.
I also looked at Ukpower, who returned similar all of the market results, again, couldn’t switch from direct to all services, and no cashback as far as I could see on those you could switch through to.
Simplyswitch, offered £25 cashback on top of some savings deals, but again, showed many deals where the tariff was not available through Simply Switch, so no cashback.
As you can see in the image below, uSwitch shows the same deals as Cheap Energy Club in its All Market Comparison.
However, when I toggle the setting to “Only show me the plans USwitch can help switch me to”, the cheapest deals don’t feature.
If however, you use uSwitch via a cashback site, you can get cashback via a cashback site through to Uswitch and then switching energy.
The image below shows I could possibly get £22.50 if I Dual Fuel Switch via Topcashback, switching via uSwitch. However, the combined savings didn’t compare to the tariffs available on Cheap Energy Club and the cashback was £7.50 less.
What if I Switch Direct to an Energy Supplier & Get High Cashback?
The final option I looked into was whether I could get an even better all round deal with a much higher cashback reward from a cashback site.
Direct switches to energy suppliers pay high cashback values, up to £73.50
Here are few examples on offer from Top Cash Back
So, I took a closer look at the SSE cashback up to £73.50 as an example, knowing SSE appeared high in the comparisons results shown above, to see if I could get a better deal.
The £73.50 cashback quote was for a New Customer Shield Gas Heating Care. The highest quote that could be considered for using for a switch was £48.72 for the SSE 1 Year Fixed v9 Dual Fuel
However, as you can see below, it’s not a competitive tariff and I would only make savings of £126.25 per year. So even with the £48.72 cashback, total savings would amount to £174.97
Both Cheap Energy Club and uSwitch offer the SSE 1 Year V8 deal, which is exclusive to comparison sites and far more competitive price wise than the tariffs they let pure cashback sites offer, like for example, TopCashback and Quidco.
It really helps to maximise every saving opportunity.
Here are some that may be available at your supplier and worth looking out for:
- Do they offer dual fuel discounts (mine was £10 a year)
- Paperless billing (my saving £5 a year)
- Are they part of a Loyalty Card scheme, e.g Tesco Clubcard Points, Nectar
It’s not just the points you might get for choosing a new deal it, you might need to claim points you have accrued during your current deal. I was owed 1500 Tesco Clubcard points with my current pre-switch provider. I had the points transferred to my card shortly before my fixed rate expired and I switched.
Another saving is the option is to have your monthly energy direct debits paid from a current account that pays cashback.
At the time of writing Santander 123 Account pays 2% cashback on energy bill direct debits. On an annual bill of £979, that works out at a saving of £19.58
One Final Check
Be aware, of one check, if your gas or electric account is in credit and you are owed money from your energy supplier before you switch. Make a note of how much and keep a look out for them returning it. I’ve never had an issue, but it’s an issue that has been raised, so something to be aware of.
The energy supplier will usually pay you the outstanding balance you’re owed within a few weeks.
So although there are other options, Cheap Energy Club, with its all of the market switching service and ADDED incentive of direct cashback on some deals that you can switch to via them directly, is for me, hands down the best option for keeping yourself constantly with the best value energy providers over a period of years.
Please comment below if you compare and switch and how much you save.
Do you have any tips or tricks for getting an even cheaper deal? Or any questions?