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Gas/electric - going from pay as you go to pay monthly

(12 Posts)
TooFatToShop Thu 16-Jun-16 11:32:18

When I moved into this council property in November, it was fitted with pay as you go meters. I hate having to keep watch of my energy consumption and having to top up. I wonder if you guys have the answers to the following Qs:

1. Is it true that pay-as-you-go is significantly more expensive than pay monthly?

2. I'm very energy efficient in that despite living in a 3 bed property, I use below average energy. My DC spend a lot of time at their grandparents' house. Will paying monthly reflect this, or will the energy company make predictions based on the size of my property and likely over-change me?

This is the first time I've lived alone so feel out of my depth here.

Thanks everyone!

EssentialHummus Thu 16-Jun-16 11:41:08

I was in a similar situation and have switched over. I found PAYG much more expensive. Some providers also seem to charge a "standing fee" (ie. "just because") which is punitive.

2 - Our new provider (OVO - highly recommended) estimates energy use, then adjusts if it has gotten it wrong. So we pay £65 p/m for both, but it's the same summer and winter.

cozietoesie Thu 16-Jun-16 12:52:08

My own supplier 'overcharges' in the summer but the bills stay the same throughout the winter period. (They're estimating annual usage and dividing it to a monthly charge - so there's a bit of enforced saving in the summer if you like.) They're also very keen, though, on adjusting the quarterly bills to reflect estimated usage over the whole year - so if you're using less than their estimate, the monthly charge will start dropping fairly quickly.

I believe that PAYG energy is more expensive in any case though. I'd switch.

TooFatToShop Thu 16-Jun-16 12:53:42

Thanks Essential I'm currently with Scottish Power as they were the only company who said they were willing to switch the meters to pay monthly! Ovo (my original supplier) wouldn't do it. Most bizarre as they have now lost my custom.

How do the energy company adjust the bill if they get it wrong?

cozietoesie Thu 16-Jun-16 12:59:21

Scottish power should just lower your monthly direct debit - and email you to tell you that they've done so. Remember that it's your money, not theirs. If they've estimated too high an annual usage/monthly charge and your actual is less because eg you're economical then you get it back.

EssentialHummus Thu 16-Jun-16 13:00:35

How do the energy company adjust the bill if they get it wrong?

As cozie said they'll adjust it down / amend the amount they take by direct debit once they see you're spending less. In our case we were with them 6 months before the price came down a bit. They started with an estimate and then adjusted based on the readings we gave them.

I also quite liked Utility Warehouse - used them for a rental property, and if you get all their services and genuinely shop at stores where you can make good use of their cashback card, it can save money. (You get money back from some stores including ones like Sainsbury's and M&S, and the cashback gets applied as a discount on your gas/electric.)

specialsubject Thu 16-Jun-16 18:49:54

PAYG isn't necessarily more expensive per unit, but standing charges may be and of course you don't get the discounts for paying by direct debit and running the account online. So getting the move was good.

set up your online account and make sure you are paying by monthly direct debit. Submit meter readings monthly (or more often if you want) and keep an eye on your balance (amount paid vs amount spent). Scottish Power's website is one of the better ones for this.

if you are building up a big credit, ring them and ask them to reduce the direct debit.

you may be stuck with them for a year, but once you are out of your fixed period then look at switching. Martin Lewis' 'cheap energy club' allows you to set a monitor to show you when you can save by switching, and sometimes offers cashback. The main cashback sites can also provide some incentives.

BTW you are on a fix, I hope? the standard variable tariff is ALWAYS more expensive.

of course the main thing is to use less!

cozietoesie Thu 16-Jun-16 18:52:49

The standard variable tariff would be the one they refer to in text as 'our most popular tariff'? grin

specialsubject Thu 16-Jun-16 20:17:17

Quite possibly .... Although fixes now carry an exit penalty. Anyway , a few sums (standing charge x 365 plus unit rate x usage) will soon show actual costs.

Also be careful of small suppliers that make you pay in advance - notorious route to hassle.

cozietoesie Thu 16-Jun-16 20:39:06

I was just grinning at some companies' language. grin It's like being written to by people who advise you that they're going to 'simplify' their charges.

I think that 'simplify' has some very specific meanings in the trade.(or, indeed, gloriously non-specific! The person who thought up that one deserves promotion. grin)

specialsubject Thu 16-Jun-16 21:40:53

The variable tariffs are the ones most people have - which Is one definition of popular.

The basic issue is that for some to pay less, others must pay more. We could all pay the same , I think that's called re nationalisation...

cozietoesie Thu 16-Jun-16 22:02:23

wink

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