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  • FIRST POST
    • simonineaston
    • By simonineaston 3rd Aug 16, 10:39 AM
    • 19Posts
    • 2Thanks
    simonineaston
    A foolproof tool...
    • #1
    • 3rd Aug 16, 10:39 AM
    A foolproof tool... 3rd Aug 16 at 10:39 AM
    I listened to an energy industry spokesperson on the Today programme this morning clearly and unambiguously state that the market is biased towards new customers, at the same time systematically penalising existing customers -"that", she said, "is how this and many other markets work." So it's official - the longer you stay with a given provider, the more likely you are to be paying over the odds. As we suspected all along, this is a cynical, deliberate and mostly successful attempt to benefit from the consumers' old-fashioned and innocent tendency towards loyalty and inertia.
    My situation is that I signed up for a long-term fixed rate deal, the end date of which is slowly appearing over the horizon. Part of the reason I did this was to enjoy peace-of-mind for a decent period. In keeping with the bulk of consumers, I find the process of switching time-consuming and stressful.
    As the time when I need to pick another deal creeps nearer, what is the best tool to use to pick the best deal? I have signed up for MSE's email service, but I was wondering if there is another better tool to work out for me which provider and which tariff to choose. It is obvious that the providers make things as opaque as they possibly can, when it comes to trying to work out the criteria for charging and so I'd love some help!
    Last edited by simonineaston; 03-08-2016 at 11:02 AM.
Page 1
    • JJ Egan
    • By JJ Egan 3rd Aug 16, 10:57 AM
    • 8,848 Posts
    • 3,580 Thanks
    JJ Egan
    • #2
    • 3rd Aug 16, 10:57 AM
    • #2
    • 3rd Aug 16, 10:57 AM
    The key has always been the unit cost and the daily standing charge .Forget estimates of yearly charges forget estimated Direct Debits .
    Use MSE and use all the other comparison sites .
    Criteria for charging remains the same unit cost per units used + standing charge daily .
    If you believe the market is going up you have a choice to lock in .
    Yes the longer you stay the more likely you are to be paying over the odds . The why is due to those that stay don't bother looking .

    Takes me about an hour at most to compare and move .
    • victor2
    • By victor2 3rd Aug 16, 11:18 AM
    • 4,507 Posts
    • 2,985 Thanks
    victor2
    • #3
    • 3rd Aug 16, 11:18 AM
    • #3
    • 3rd Aug 16, 11:18 AM
    Enter your annual kWh usage for each utility into any of the big comparison sites - uSwitch, CEC etc.
    I don't even bother with my current tariff details - as the end of a fixed tariff gets to be less than 12 months away the supposed "savings" shown are totally meaningless as long as OFGEM's approved method is used. Just look at predicted future costs with different suppliers for your stated usage.
    Note that if you want to save even more money, consider using a different supplier for gas and electricity. Extra hassle, but the days of dual fuel tariffs being better than individual ones have now gone. Again mainly thanks to OFGEM's "simplification" of tariffs.

    You obviously appreciate the difference between fixed and variable tariffs. Ones with no exit penalty appeal to me, so I can leave without cost if a better one comes along.
    Be aware of suppliers who take DD payments up front as well - many of the smaller suppliers do that. You can end up paying twice in one month if you switch from a supplier who takes the payment in arrears to one who takes it in advance. Of course you get a payment holiday in effect if you go the other way, and it all evens out in the end.
    • matelodave
    • By matelodave 3rd Aug 16, 12:34 PM
    • 2,591 Posts
    • 1,406 Thanks
    matelodave
    • #4
    • 3rd Aug 16, 12:34 PM
    • #4
    • 3rd Aug 16, 12:34 PM
    I use two or three of the energy comparison sites and they nearly always come out with a similar result.

    I also do my own calculations based on my estimate of my consumption - I've got over six years worth of monthly meter readings so I've got a significantly better idea of my consumption than any guesstimate made by someone else.

    I check every month or so to see whether there is a better deal out there, it takes around 10 minutes and I'll swap if if it seems worth while.
    Love makes the world go round - beer make it go round even faster
    • simonineaston
    • By simonineaston 4th Aug 16, 12:19 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    simonineaston
    • #5
    • 4th Aug 16, 12:19 PM
    • #5
    • 4th Aug 16, 12:19 PM
    Thnx for helpful tips, folks. :-)
    • simonineaston
    • By simonineaston 9th Oct 16, 3:27 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    simonineaston
    • #6
    • 9th Oct 16, 3:27 PM
    • #6
    • 9th Oct 16, 3:27 PM
    I just wanted to add a PS to this thread I started. I was sorry that only a few folk contributed, 'cos I was trying to tackle what I thought was an important idea. Y'day on R4's Money Box, Paul Lewis, managed to put it much better than I did (that's why he's a successful journalist and I am not !)
    The industry spokesman engaged in the usual meaningless platitudes and refused to shift from his position in spite of Paul's best efforts. The energy companies make my blood boil - they go on and on about improvements and listening to customers, but the simple fact is that if they wanted to change their ways and make simple tariffs available with easy to understand pricing info., they could do it tomorrow. The simple proof that they continue to do their best to stiff us all is the fact that they don't change.
    Anyway, immediately after the interview with the slimy-sounding and expertly evasive industry spokesman, Paul interviewed a member of the public, who as a self declared Excel 'enthusiast' and ex engineer had invested a lot of effort putting together exactly what I asked about when I posted my first post.
    There is a picture of the worksheets on the wall behind them here... http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07x12lz which gives an idea of exactly how bloomin' hard the energy companies make this to do. The author of this admirable effort, one Mr Nolan, was at pains to point out exactly how hard he had to work to get the energy companies to reveal the underlying data that lies behind their bewildering and entirely artificial 'tariffs'. Their persistent and apparently unstoppable greed make me sick.
    If Mr Nolan is out there and reading this, can I have a copy of your spreadsheet, please, mate?!
    Last edited by simonineaston; 09-10-2016 at 3:29 PM.
    • molerat
    • By molerat 9th Oct 16, 4:12 PM
    • 15,066 Posts
    • 9,400 Thanks
    molerat
    • #7
    • 9th Oct 16, 4:12 PM
    • #7
    • 9th Oct 16, 4:12 PM
    I can't see that his spreadsheet offers anything different to the comparison sites, it seems a lot of effort for little benefit. All you need to know is how much a given tariff is going to cost you per year for your chosen usage. It would be nice if they gave you the option of high and low use scenarios instead of having to go in and change your profile but that is fairly simple to do in the CEC.
    www.helpforheroes.org.uk/donations.html
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 9th Oct 16, 5:55 PM
    • 26,079 Posts
    • 12,542 Thanks
    Cardew
    • #8
    • 9th Oct 16, 5:55 PM
    • #8
    • 9th Oct 16, 5:55 PM
    I can't see that his spreadsheet offers anything different to the comparison sites, it seems a lot of effort for little benefit. All you need to know is how much a given tariff is going to cost you per year for your chosen usage. It would be nice if they gave you the option of high and low use scenarios instead of having to go in and change your profile but that is fairly simple to do in the CEC.
    Originally posted by molerat
    I agree and it is a spreadsheet that will require constant updating. It might be accurate today, but in two weeks time?? You would have to do the rounds of all companies and comparison networks to see if there had been any changes.

    Also there are 10 different geographic area in UK, all with different prices, so you would need the spreadsheet designed for your area.

    On top of this there are a host of 'collective' tariffs coming onto the market, and likely to be many more. The charges, or even their existence, for these collective tariffs cannot be seen on-line or from the energy companies themselves. You have to become a member of a comparison network, giving out personal details, to get the information.
    • simonineaston
    • By simonineaston 9th Oct 16, 6:06 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    simonineaston
    • #9
    • 9th Oct 16, 6:06 PM
    • #9
    • 9th Oct 16, 6:06 PM
    As far as I know, most of the comparison sites are as obscure and opaque as the providers themselves, in that the results take into account unseen and undeclared incentives. The providers offer incentives to the comparison sites, which vary from provider to provider and the comparison site results are weighted in favour of the providers who offer the best incentives. Each time a punter changes via a comparison site, the comparison site gets a small slice of the pie.
    In the early days, when the comparison sites first cantered over the horizon, rather like the US cavalry, in an old fashioned black and white Western movie, everyone assumed that they were the Good Guys, fighting on behalf of the little folk... that may have been true back in the day, but make no mistake, the comparison sites are all in on the action now and are busily taking our money as fast as the providers themselves...
    Let's see exactly how far May's new gov. is prepared to go with their declared intention to make things fairer. Don't hold your breath tho' - you'll quickly go as blue as the chancellor's tie.
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 9th Oct 16, 6:59 PM
    • 26,079 Posts
    • 12,542 Thanks
    Cardew
    As far as I know, most of the comparison sites are as obscure and opaque as the providers themselves, in that the results take into account unseen and undeclared incentives. The providers offer incentives to the comparison sites, which vary from provider to provider and the comparison site results are weighted in favour of the providers who offer the best incentives. Each time a punter changes via a comparison site, the comparison site gets a small slice of the pie.
    In the early days, when the comparison sites first cantered over the horizon, rather like the US cavalry, in an old fashioned black and white Western movie, everyone assumed that they were the Good Guys, fighting on behalf of the little folk... that may have been true back in the day, but make no mistake, the comparison sites are all in on the action now and are busily taking our money as fast as the providers themselves...
    Let's see exactly how far May's new gov. is prepared to go with All the Ofgem-approved energy comparison sites are independent, and the options and prices you find on them will be calculated and displayed in a fair and accurate way – meaning you can be confident when shopping for energy.

    their declared intention to make things fairer. Don't hold your breath tho' - you'll quickly go as blue as the chancellor's tie.
    Originally posted by simonineaston
    10 years ago several of us were posting on this forum that comparison websites are parasitic and their £millions in income(commission) is simply paid for by us customers. The Government/ofgem could have set up a single independent website that could be trusted.

    That said many have posted that a website is posting inaccurate facts on-line, and I am not aware that there have been any(??) cases proven. They are also regulated by Ofgem as you state.


    What cannot be regulated are subjective judgements such as 'level of service' and I suspect that the best performing company in the industry would not fare well if it didn't pay that web-site commission. For instance on one website, Ebico merits 3 stars for 'Service Rating' and SSE merits 5 stars. Yet all billing and administration for Ebico is handled by SSE.

    There is also evidence(from posts) that those who telephone a comparison network will inevitably be given a considerably lower Direct Debit estimate if they switch with that firm.
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