Switching suppliers for the first time - help please?

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Jesthar
Jesthar Posts: 1,450 Forumite
Hi all,

I've had my own dinky little one bed house for about a year and a half now, and both gas and electric have been with British Gas since the get-go. Finally decided to get off my backside and switch after a huge bill hoick despite being in credit, but yesterday evenings experiments with the comparison websites left me a bit confused (I looked at EnergyHelpline and SimplySwitch). Some of the individual tarrifs appeared to save more than any of the duel fuel, but were with companies I'd never heard of (Ebico was one, I think), or couldn't sign up to online. Anyway, thought I'd do the sensible thing and ask for advice!

I've gone through my bills and my useage from August 07 to August 08 was as follows:

Gas - 6196.63 kWh (heating, water & cooker are all gas)
Elec - 915 kWh (lighting, white goods, TV/entertainment etc.)

I currently pay by monthly direct debit, and I'm happy with that, but I do prefer paper billing to online - I'm a computer geek by trade, so naturally I prefer hard copies because servers can crash!

Anyone got any guidance for this girl, please? :)

~Jes :)
Never underestimate the power of the techno-geek... ;)

Comments

  • KimYeovil
    KimYeovil Posts: 6,156 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Post
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    Yes, separate tariffs can be cheaper than the dual discounts particularly if one or both of your utilities is especially high or low.

    You can sign up online to most of the companies - you just can't do it directly from a link on the comparison site.

    (You can't be that much of a geek if your electricity is that low!)
  • Jesthar
    Jesthar Posts: 1,450 Forumite
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    KimYeovil wrote: »
    (You can't be that much of a geek if your electricity is that low!)
    Heh, I have a laptop and a wireless router, and that's it at the mo! My homebuilt desktop doesn't get used as it's several years old and therefore not up to much any more. TV is LCD, freeview box is the most energy efficient on the market, especially on standby, and I'm pathalogical about turning everything off at the wall when not in use - even the washing machine and toaster! :rotfl:

    I've never heard of Ebico, anyone know anything about them? I've also heard a few worrying tales about nPower service levels, should I have any concerns about that?

    If I can't go through the comparison engines, is it worth trying cashback sites? :)

    Thanks again,

    ~Jes :)
    Never underestimate the power of the techno-geek... ;)
  • 1carminestocky
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    AMAZING leccy consumption in particular! :beer: Can't believe I'm going to say this, but Ebico should be your first port of call as they don't charge a (far more expensive) Tier 1 rate. Their electricity is actually not competitively priced for anyone who uses approx 1800kwhs or more per year but as your usage is so low you benefit from the flat rate pricing.

    The gas, I would imagine, is an Ebico no-brainer also. Most companies charge a high Tier 1 rate for between the first 2680 and 4572 units per annum but Ebico again just charge a flat rate so as your usage is so low you benefit fom their pricing structure.

    They are a not for profit organisation run by church elders (sounds a bit like the film Witness, lol). They use Scottish and Southern for all their billing/cs etc and they get good write ups on here.


    www.ebico.co.uk

    PS You gas would come in at less than £20/mth and your electricity would depend on the part of the UK in which you lived (but not much more than a tenner a month!). No dual fuel/DD discounts. Paper bills as well...
    Call me Carmine....

    HAVE YOU SEEN QUENTIN'S CASHBACK CARD??
  • Jesthar
    Jesthar Posts: 1,450 Forumite
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    Hmm, I'm going to double check this elec figure when I get in later, just to be sure, I think! I've only been paying an average of £11 on British Gas elec, though - they had me down at about £5 a month for a while! :rotfl:

    I guess I just try and do the sensible things - full loads of washing only, just boil what water I need, only use the lights I need, turn things off etc. I don't have a tumble dryer, nor a big hoover (just a dustbuster) it's all laminate/lino floor barring the stairs. I have recently acquired hair straighteners, which get used once or twice a week, but I'm down to about half an hour to do my (long!) hair now. I rarely use a hairdryer, though, except for five minutes to knock the worst of the wet out.

    Mind you, my brother has just bought me a Wii for my (significant) birthday this year, so that might have a small impact! :rotfl:

    Thanks again for the help!

    ~Jes :)
    Never underestimate the power of the techno-geek... ;)
  • BexTech
    BexTech Posts: 4,772 Forumite
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    Many many people are happy with Ebico.

    I use Ebico for gas and was with Scottish Power for electric, previously British gas and will be back on British gas for electric in a few weeks time.
    It's PAC not PAC Code, it's MAC not MAC Code, it's PIN not PIN Number, it's ATM not ATM Machine, it's LCD not LCD Display, it's DVD not DVD disc... It's no one not noone, It's a lot not alot, It's got not gotten... Panini is the plural of panino - there is no S!!
    (OK my English isn't great, the sciences, maths & IT are my strong points!)
  • Jesthar
    Jesthar Posts: 1,450 Forumite
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    I double checked my figures tonight, and rounded them up slightly (erring on the side of being too high) to take into account I was a couple of weeks short on the full year. So via EnergyHelpline using the following values:

    Gas - 6300 kWh
    Elec - 950 kWh

    I got the following results:

    Gas only - Ebico EquiGas cheapest by far, save around £100, 29%. Next best 20% saving, Southern Electric

    Elec only - nPower Sign Online 13 Standard Billing, save around £50, 34%. Next best 29% saving, nPower again (Ebico 18% saving)

    Dual fuel - Ebico Equidual, save circa £125, 25%. Next best 24%, nPower

    Any thoughts/comments on the above? I get the same order of results with my original figures, just with different amounts. :) It looks like my cheapest option would be gas from Ebico and elec from nPower, followed by dual fuel from Ebico.

    Was surprised to see nPower so far ahead of the pack in elec and so close in the rest, any ideas what's going on there? Are they planning a price rise soon, maybe?

    ~Jes :)

    Edit: just done a little digging - apparantly the nPower 'savings' include annual discounts, which you don't get unless you stay with them for a year from the first billing date! Currently these discoounts are £21 each for direct debit payments for gas and elec, plus an extra £65 if you're dual fuel. So I guess that means if they hike up their prices withing that year and you decide to switch, you lose either £21 or £105 of saving, depending on whether you have a single tarrif or dual fuel. Sneaky...

    Well, that knocks nPower firmly off my list, and the only other option which saves more is British Gas with paperless billing. Looks like that makes the Ebico dual fuel option the current leader of the pack, then.
    Never underestimate the power of the techno-geek... ;)
  • 1carminestocky
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    I like your style, if only more people were as thorough as you maybe the energy companies would have to sort themselves out and abandon their confusion marketing! Take care with online tariffs as if you don't keep on top of them you can end up being on an uncompetitive tariff quite quickly. I've explianed why in this post:

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showpost.html?p=15430093&postcount=4


    PS On your usage (and knowing what I know about dodgy online tariff marketing), I reckon Equidual is the ideal way forward.
    Call me Carmine....

    HAVE YOU SEEN QUENTIN'S CASHBACK CARD??
  • littletommytucker
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    I wouldnt do a price comparison using your consumption for August!! Sure.. ebico with a flat rate and no standing charge would be great for August.. but what about when ur consumption tripples when you want to keep warm this winter! Compare your current consumpption with your bill from January last year.. and see the differnce. If you dont have previous bills then contact your supplier. And switching can be complicated going from one company to another.. so i wouldnt recommend doing separate gas and electric suppliers.. liazing with 3 different companies would surely mean disaster somewhere! Get your annual consumption in Kwh from BG, and put your results in Uswitch. you will probably find the BG click energy 6 tarriff as the cheapest... unfortunatly that would be online billing. x
    Sunny in Southampton.
  • KimYeovil
    KimYeovil Posts: 6,156 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Post
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    The OP has already said in her op that she is using her annual consumption. And your paranoia about liaising between three companies is nonsense.
  • littletommytucker
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    Sorry... i misread her post. My Bad! And i know its easy to switch... its just if estimated reads are used or whatever, or something went wrong, then it would be a nusiance calling 3 different call centres each with a hold time of probably over ten minutes!!
    Sunny in Southampton.
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