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Mistakes to avoid with your energy supplier

By October 18, 2017 ,

Burnt out light bulb laying on its side

Whether we like them or not, we all have to get our energy supply from one of the many suppliers on the market. Whether it be one of the big 6 you opt for or a smaller, lesser known supplier, customers are often guilty of making the following mistakes, which can cause big issues in the long run.

Take a look at my list of customer mistakes, so you can ensure you aren't one of the ones making them.

Not checking your statement - Most suppliers don't directly provide statements to their customers anymore. Customers often have to go hunting for them, which usually means registering and logging into your online account via the supplier's website. So, set a reminder on your phone, or make a note on the calendar to check your statement each month to avoid any nasty surprises.

Not providing regular meter reads - We're slowly moving over to Smart meters where reads can be obtained from your energy supplier at their convenience however, there's still millions of homes without them and those that do have them find they're having issues with their suppliers obtaining readings if they've recently switched suppliers. Many customers don't provide meter reads to their supplier and instead wait for them to come and read the meters. However, most meter readers will come to your house during working hours when you're least likely to be in, so they may not be able to obtain a read from your meter for months or even years if it's located inside the property. To ensure you're statements reflect your actual usage rather than estimated usage, set a reminder to provide meter reads to your supplier once every quarter.

Not reporting meter faults efficiently - If you notice that the number on your meter hasn't moved for some time or has gone backwards, then your meter very likely has a fault and you need to report this to your energy supplier as soon as possible so that they can arrange for an engineer to come out and replace your meter. You should not be charged for this service. Failing to report meter faults can cause delays in your statements being produced, inaccurate statements being produced and estimated statements based on historic date the supplier owns on your usage from previous years, before the meter developed a fault. So, if last Winter was unseasonably cold and you had the heating on more than you have this year, you may find yourself out of pocket if you fail to report your faulty meter swiftly.

Three gas meters standing side by side

Ignoring requests for more information - Your supplier may contact you out of the blue requesting an image of your meter or a meter reading a short while after you've just given them one or they may ask you to confirm your meter's serial number. They usually do this because they've noticed something isn't matching up on your account. Don't ignore these requests, provide them with the information they've asked for or, if you're not able to, get in contact with them and let them know why.

Not updating contact details - From time to time your energy supplier may need to contact you about your account. If you change your email address or contact number, remember to let your them know.

Not updating personal circumstances - If the kids move out, you extend your home or you get a hot tub installed let your supplier know as these kinds of things will impact how much energy you consume and your supplier will need to review your current situation and may need to adjust your monthly direct debit.

Allowing debt to build up - Many customer's accounts will fall into arrears over the Winter period. A small amount of debt is usually fine, especially if you're paying a fixed direct debit as your balance will usually level itself out the following Summer when people's energy consumption is generally lower.  If you're struggling to pay your bill, speak to your energy supplier and let them know rather than ignoring their calls and emails, as they may be able to help you by switching you to a better deal or arranging a payment plan for you.

Not looking for the best deal - You may have signed up to your current energy supplier because they had a great fixed deal on at the time, or you may have remained with the same supplier that supplied your property when you moved in, but are you on the best tariff? Fixed tariffs are usually much better deals than Standard or Variable tariffs. So, if you don't want to switch suppliers, switch tariffs with your current supplier and lock yourself into the best deal. After all, it's the same energy, from the same company so why more for it than you have to?

Not switching from a pre-payment meter - A pre-payment meter is like a pay as you go mobile phone in the energy world. Usually, the rates you are charged for your energy is higher than if you were on a standard credit meter. For some families, pre-payment meters are ideal as you can track your usage and top up the meter only when you require the energy supply. However, in the long run it works out much ore expensive for you, so if you've got a pre-payment meter consider requesting a meter exchange from your current supplier.

Mixing up your gas and electricity meter reads - Giving meter reads for the wrong fuel is easily done, but can cause so much inconvenience for both you and your energy supplier in the long run. So, before you supply your reads to your supplier, double check which fuel they're for.

Guessing how to read their meter - if you don't know how to read your meter, don't guess. If you can, take a clear photo of the read and send it to your supplier for them to decipher the read. If not, contact your supplier and request they send one of their meter readers out to read your meter and to show you how to read it so you know for next time.

Failing to advise you've moved out of the property - If you're moving out of your property, make sure you take your meter reads just before you go, ideally take an image too and inform your energy supplier that you've left the property and provide them with your final read. This will ensure you're not billed for any energy used in the property past your move out date.

Loyalty - Being loyal to an energy supplier gets you nowhere. Suppliers don't offer their long-standing customers better deals and you'll often find yourself on their standard tariff by default. So, if you're paying too much, shop around and don't be afraid to switch suppliers.

Have you got any other top tips? If so, please share them with us in the comments section below.

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