It can’t have escaped your notice that the temperatures have plummeted over the last couple of weeks. In my mind it’s reached the levels where putting the heating on is no longer an option, especially when you have children in the house. But, that decision isn’t always straightforward if you’re having to watch the pennies at home.
These days you really do need to “Be an Energy Shopper” to make sure you’re getting the best, most cost effective energy deals for you. The whole process can be a tad daunting though, which is why I was actually quite thrilled to be asked to take a look at Ofgem’s newly revamped Be an Energy Shopper website.
Now, for those of you that aren’t aware, Ofgem are the Government regulator for the gas and electricity market here in the UK. So, in other words, they’re the people that keep all the separate gas and electricity providers in check and make sure they’re doing as they should, and not ripping off their customers in the process.
In other words, you, as a consumer, can trust them, and that’s what makes their advice on how to Be and Energy Shopper worth listening to.
The site is designed so that you, the customer, are able to make informed decisions about what is right for you when it comes to choosing a gas and electricity provider. It’s fine just being told to “look at your energy consumption” but if you don’t know or understand how to do that, they might as well be talking to you in Mandarin or something. That’s why pages like Understanding Bills are so useful.
The Understanding Bills page takes you through a step by step guide, breaking down all the different sections that you’ll find on your bill, and also explains all the terminology used in plain English. Before I became really thrifty-savvy I know that I used to just get my bills for gas and electricity, look at the number at the bottom as to how much I owed, and then I ignored the rest of it, simply as I didn’t understand what it was telling me. As in so many situations, knowledge is power.
There is also a detailed explanation on how to take a meter reading (for gas and electricity), complete with pictures of the different types of dials or numbers that you might see, so that you can understand exactly what it will look like on your meter. I know that for many people just looking at your meter can be quite a daunting thing. Also, if you move house it may be that you suddenly have a new type of meter to get your head around, which is the last thing you want to be stressing about when you’ve just moved in.
Prepayment Meters can be an expensive way of paying for your gas and electricity, so if you have one it can really help to understand how they work, and also what your options may be for changing to a credit meter to help you save money. This isn’t possible for everyone, and may require a credit check, but as ever, knowledge is power in a situation like this so the BAES site providing you with all the information about what is feasible is incredibly useful.
The term “compare energy tariffs” is again one that is used a lot, but can sound like a load of nonsense at first. What it really means is looking at what different energy suppliers can offer you in terms of prices and working out what those different offerings mean for your particular situation. The Be an Energy Shopper page on Energy Tariffs and Deals takes you through the different types of tariffs and other packages that suppliers may offer and again helps you understand the terminology they use.
The advice often given out when people are looking to change energy supplier is to go on a comparison site, but knowing which one to go to, or if you can trust the one you have gone to, can be a whole separate headache for consumers. Ofgem can help here too though as they have compiled a list of comparison sites that they have approved, meaning that you can go and choose one from the list and use it feeling safe in the knowledge that you’re using a tool that they have checked out and said is fair to customers.
So, if you want to make a change this side of Christmas, or have a New Year’s resolution to save money on your energy bills, Be An Energy Shopper is a great place to start. Impartial advice and lots and lots of useful information, presented in a clear, easy to read format. What are you waiting for?
Disclaimer: This sponsored post is brought to you in conjunction with Ofgem’s Be An Energy Shopper site.
Utility bill and coins image via Shutterstock
Gas meter box key image via Shutterstock