Random Nonsense

How to save money (no really, it is not a con)
harkovast at 3:04PM, Oct. 5, 2010
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posts: 5,197
joined: 10-12-2008
I am now going to give you some advice that will save most of the UK residents amongst you hundreds of pounds a year. If you don't live in the UK I make no guarantees but I suspect you could save quite a lot as well based on these guidelines.
This advice requires no investment from you and you will barely have to change your habits.
Maybe you can spend a little of the money you save on Harkovast merchandise, eh?

I work in a call centre in the energy industry. A pretty crappy line of work, but it does have one useful benefit.
I understand the workings of the British Energy industry with regard to how customers are charged and billed.
Energy companies make the bulk of their money from the fact that most of their customers accept the first thing they are offered, never shop around and never consider that they might be able to get a better deal.
I am now going to explain how you can all save money on your energy bills.
This is not secret information; call your energy company and ask them these things and they should tell you the same answers. In fact, I personally give this information to people I speak to on the phone at my work everyday because I don't like people to lose money when they don't have to.


1- Do a price comparison.

Go onto websites that do price comparisons for energy and do a comparison.
You will need to get your bills out and work out your last years usage (without this, any comparison is meaningless. If a sales men ever says he can save you money without looking at your last years usage or only looking at one bill, he is a crook and you should ignore everything he says from then on.)
Energyhelpline.com is a good one.
The thing to remember when dealing with price comparison sites is that most of them make a commission by convincing you to change. So the prices for the tariffs they show will be correct, but they may well leave off cheaper tariffs from the supplier you are already with.
There is a MASSIVE difference between suppliers and a MASSIVE difference between the different tariffs a supplier offers, this is not pocket change. The difference can be over 20% (which equates to hundreds of pounds EVERY YEAR that people are paying that they don't have to!)
It amazing how often people say to me in my job “Why didn't you offer me these cheaper products before I was going to change?”
Hmmm, tough question. Why would a business, that is by definition and organisation that exists to make money, not want me to pay them more money rather than less?
The fact is, if you don't check this yourself, you will be getting a poor deal.
If you have never checked this stuff, you are getting a poor deal. I guarantee it.

2- Online Tariffs

At the moment the cheapest deals are online deals where you pay by Direct Debit, put in your own readings online and get your statements sent to you online. Get yourself on one of these tariffs.
Even the cheapest normal billing tariff is a rip off next to the most expensive online one.
You are reading this, so you can work a computer, so there is no excuse.


3- Direct Debit and prepayment meters

You should always pay by direct debit, where monthly amounts are taken out of your account. It is cheaper then paying by any other method.
The trick with DD (as its called in the trade) is that salesmen will often say “I can lower your payments by X amount”. Be wary of this! It is often a scam. Yes, the salesman CAN reduce your payments, but you will still need to pay for the energy you use. So if your Direct Debit payments are put unrealistically low, you will fall behind and then your payment amounts will be hiked up later. Worse still, you wont be able to change supplier again till you clear this outstanding balance.
Do NOT go onto prepayment (also known as a card or key meter) and if you are on this type of meter try to get off it as soon as possible (shop around, some suppliers will charge, while others will take you off it for free.) On prepayment most of the discounted tariffs I talked about before are not available, so you will be paying more then you would otherwise.
Its the equivalent of paying £200 for something you are buying, when the shop offers the option to pay them later in instalments and only pay £150. If you think the person paying £200 is foolish, then you should get off prepayment.

4- Fixed Deals

Fixed prices are always a benefit and are something you should get when possible.
If a tariff is not fixed, it needs to be a lot cheaper to be worthwhile compared to a none fixed tariff.
All prices go up over time (inflation) and the amount of energy sources and natural gas in the world is always diminishing.
Prices are extremely likely to be higher next year then they are this year.

5- Cancellation fees

All the cheapest tariffs will usually have a cancellation fee. Make sure you are sure you are getting the best available deal before agreeing to anything, so you don't get stung with these when you try to change again.
However, once you are sure of the best possible tariff, don't worry about these.
The cancellation fees only apply if you cancel to go to another tariff, which if you are on the cheapest deal you wont want to anyway.
When the tariffs discounts come to an end, so will the cancellation fee.

6- The Yearly Check Up

The great thing about saving money on energy is that once you've done it, it requires very little maintenance to continue to get the best deal.
The cheapest tariffs generally have a shelf life (as mentioned above). This is normally about a year. After this you will get a letter telling you that you are getting put back onto the standard rate.
At this time, you should go online and shop around again.

So there you go.
By following these steps, you will never need to pay too much for energy ever again and will on average save in the region of £200 a year (maybe more, maybe less. I cut my energy bill by £170 a year by doing this.)

I don't know how many of you will bother to follow this advice, but the ability to save yourselves money is now very much in your hands.

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
Genejoke at 7:04AM, Oct. 8, 2010
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posts: 3,033
joined: 4-9-2010
I change suppliers every so often, a side affect of having worked for scottish power a few years back.

last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
harkovast at 7:11AM, Oct. 8, 2010
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posts: 5,197
joined: 10-12-2008
People who have worked in the energy industry always do.
Its a shame they seem to be the only ones!

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM

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