Created by: John Fitzsimons | 13 February 2019

Can't be bothered to switch energy deals? Get someone else to do it for you

If you want to pay a decent price for your energy, then it’s really important that you shop around for a new tariff every year or so.

Suppliers offer their best deals on fixed tariffs of a year or so, which set the price that you pay for your gas and electricity in stone.

But once that tariff comes to an end, you’ll be moved onto the supplier’s standard tariff. Not only are these incredibly expensive, but they are also the tariffs which are subject to the price rises periodically announced by suppliers, particularly when the weather is cold.

To put that difference into context, according to data from industry regulator Ofgem, while the typical home would pay £1,221 a year for their energy use on a standard tariff, by moving to a fixed tariff they could cut that all the way down to £946 per year.

A nation of non-switchers

Despite the potential savings from switching energy deals, the reality is that millions of us don’t shop around for energy deals.

One of the reasons that Ofgem opted to introduce an energy price cap is that there are around 11 million households that are currently on poor value standard tariffs. Some of them moved onto those tariffs after their fixed deals finished, while others have never switched at all and so have spent years forking out a small fortune on their energy use.

There are plenty of reasons why people choose not to shop around and switch, from being sceptical about the potential financial benefits to fearing the process will be a hassle.

Get someone else to do it for you

If you don’t want to go through the process of shopping around yourself, that doesn’t mean you need to put up with expensive energy bills though. There are now a host of ‘auto-switching sites’ which promise to handle the whole process for you, from the likes of flipper and weflip to Look After My Bills and Labrador.

The idea is that these firms basically track what you’re paying for your energy, and how this compares to other deals that are currently available on the market. Then, if the auto-switching site finds a tariff which would save you money, it then moves you over.

The sites will contact you once they have found a money-saving deal for you, so you can cancel a switch if you don’t fancy it. For example, the site might suggest moving to a supplier you’ve previously had a poor experience with, or who have a bad reputation for customer service.

Things to consider when comparing auto-switching sites

Each of the auto-switching sites offers something slightly different, so it’s important that you understand exactly what you’re signing up for.

For example, you need to establish how often they search the market to see if they can find you a cheaper deal. Some search on a monthly basis, while others only conduct that search annually.

Along similar lines, you need to understand what level of saving they need to find before they will switch you to a new deal. While some sites switch you once they find a £50 saving, others won’t switch unless they find an £80 saving.

You also need to establish whether there will be any fees for the service. Some will charge an annual subscription fee for their auto-switching services, others are free. Instead they make their money by taking a referral fee from the supplier.

While the latter may seem the better budget option, these switching sites will be choosing from a more restricted line-up of suppliers, so you may miss out on the absolute cheapest deals.

Switch energy deals Savings

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