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Help me understand which gas/electricity tariff is better for me

(7 Posts)
Madratlady Sun 13-Oct-13 22:23:40

I've come up with 2 tariffs that are estimated to cost me about the same per year on a price comparison site. One has a higher standing charge but lower unit rates, the other has a lower standing charge but slightly higher unit rates (by about 2p/unit).

Which should I go for? Our electricity usage is similiar every bill we get with our current supplier and there's not much we can cut down on with our electricity usage. I might use a little more when I go on maternity leave but I'm trying to use the slow cooker more and the electric oven less and use the tumble dryer less as well.

Our gas usage is obviously much higher when it's cold, we're trying to use less this winter by cutting down on having the heating on and we have a new boiler which should be a little more efficient.

Also is paying by direct debit lots better than paying each bill when you get it? Is it likely to save us much money? I've been renting for a few years but never looked into tariffs in much detail before.

Rattitude Sun 13-Oct-13 22:31:06

I am not an expert on this but with regard to the two tariffs, the best one for you will depend on your consumption.

Typically, you will get some sort of a discount if you pay by direct debit, so it is worth setting this up.

I am currently with Atlantic Gas and Electricity (for both gas and electricity) and I rate them highly. Customer service centre based in the UK. If I am in credit above a certain amount, I am refunded the monies. I can also request a refund. Basically, they are pretty flexible and good value in my opinion. So much so that even though I would like to change my broadband and phone to Utility Warehouse, I am hesitating to do so because I would have to also switch my gas and electricity to them to get the deal I am after...

I would recommend you investigate different providers, and certainly have a look at Utility Warehouse too!

Madratlady Sun 13-Oct-13 22:51:27

DH has a lovely aunt who works for Utility Warehouse, I will get in touch with her and see what their deals are like.

I know the best deal will be dependent on consumption but I can't figure out whether it would be better to pay more basic rate but less per unit or more per unit but less basic rate, I'm finding it difficult to get my head around which of those would be cheaper assuming our usage doesn't vary much.

Sometimes this being a grown up thing is confusing!

mercibucket Sun 13-Oct-13 23:30:33

have a look at topcasback and quidco before changing

Rattitude Sun 13-Oct-13 23:33:44

The key thing is to have a good idea of what your consumption may be. If you consume a fair amount or think you are likely to increase your consumption, then you are better off with a lower unit rate and higher standing charge. Apparently, the winter is meant to be bad again this year by the way...

I assume that the two tariffs you were proposed are pretty similar. I would probably go with the one with the company that has the best reviews from a customer service perspective.

specialsubject Mon 14-Oct-13 18:39:27

no-one can say what the weather will be more than a week ahead, ignore all 'it will be a harsh winter' DM stuff. But of course it may be.

the standing charge will be a fixed level - you can't do anything to change the number of days in a year. You CAN use less electricity - for instance, once you are on maternity leave you will obviously have more washing, babies being what they are, but you will be at home to put washing out on non-rainy days so can do less tumble drying. BTW the cost of LED lightbulbs has tumbled and they are now becoming worth it. (Keep the ones you have, then if you move house put those back and take the LEDs with you)

direct debit usually gives a discount. And as prices will only go up, get a long fix provided that is doesn't mean a huge price rise now. Don't believe any politician's promises.

whatever you do, monitor your usage by getting an online tariff and submitting monthly readings. That way you can see what is going on and avoid nasty surprises.

raisah Mon 14-Oct-13 20:52:58

Shop around and do your research on the different companies and what they offer.

Have a look at the above website for independent advice.

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