Archives for posts with tag: bills

Following ScottishPower’s price rise yesterday, Thomas Lyons, energy expert at uSwitch, tells us whether or not other energy suppliers are likely to follow suit and whether now’s the time to fix our energy prices…

Yes.

There you go, that was a quick blog wasn’t it? Maybe I’ll go and make a cup of tea. What? Explain more? Oh go on then…

ScottishPower yesterday announced that, as of 1st August, they would be increasing their gas and electricity prices by 19% and 10% respectively. This is a huge increase, the likes of which we haven;t seen since 2008 when rates rocketed by 41% in a year, leaving many families worrying about the effect this will have on their winter bills.

But it won’t be just ScottishPower.

Energy suppliers, much like our 2012 Olympic cynchronised swimming team, tend to move together and I would be shocked if we don’t see similar increases from the other major suppliers before the end of the year. They haven’t moved yet though, which means that we are in a unique situation with some suppliers yet to put prices up, still offering fixed tariffs. We are pretty confident that the others will follow suit and by roughly the same amount but in the meantime there is a window of opportunity.

Given this situation the fixed plans on offer now are looking like a very good option. The increase announced by ScottishPower equates to a dual fuel increase of 14.9% which, if matched by other suppliers, would mean that fixed tariffs would quickly become very competitive.

So, fixed plans certainly look like they will be the best option for a lot of people right now, giving piece of mind combined with rates which we expect to get very competitive, very soon.

But a word of warning, the last time we saw a situation like this was in 2008 when we had a similar situation – large price rises from some suppliers and a mad rush of customer taking up the fixed products on offer from the others.

As you might expect those fixed deals weren’t available for long. Lots for people enjoyed cheap energy rates for the next two years, lots of others missed out… you have been warned.

If you’re interested in fixed price energy tariffs, compare fixed price tariffs in your area and see the cheapest way to fix. 

 

See Also:

Should I fix? See our fixed price energy guide and see how much you could save if energy prices go up again.

Advertisements
Газовая горелка

Image via Wikipedia

Annual energy statements are a statement from your energy supplier that tells you how much gas and/or electricity you used that year and how much it cost you.

They’re compulsory, but uSwitch findings show that 56% of us either haven’t received one, or didn’t recognise it.

We know that some of our readers like to see where we get our stats from (some of you may even have taken part in the survey), so here’s the original poll and the answers we were given.

The report was based on responses in a poll of 2222 customers, and here’s what they said:

Have you had an annual energy statement from your energy supplier within the last 12 months?
Yes 37%
No 30%
I might have – I’m not sure 26%
I don’t know as I don’t open/read my energy bills 1%
Don’t know 5%
Thinking about your annual energy statement, which of the following applies to you? Please tick all that apply:
It was clearly labelled as an annual energy statement 36%
The information it provided was different to my regular energy bills 9%
The information it provided was useful 39%
I used it to help me compare my energy prices 20%
I found the statement confusing 16%
It didn’t contain information that I wanted 4%
I couldn’t tell the difference between my annual energy statement and my regular bills 8%
The information I wanted was difficult to find 7%
I wasn’t sure why the company had sent it to me 8%
I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with the information 14%
It’s a waste of time and paper 9%
I would like to be able to opt out of receiving this information 2%
None of these 4%
Don’t know 3%
Annual energy statements are supposed to provide clear information and guidance about how to ensure that you are on the best deal…Which of the following applies to you? Please tick all that apply:
This information was on my annual energy statement and was easy to find 23%
This information was on the annual energy statement, but I had to look for it 18%
The information and advice on my annual energy statement was clear 30%
I would feel confident about using this information to shop around 27%
I have used this information to compare prices 19%
None of these 21%
This information was on my annual energy statement and was easy to find 23%
This information was on the annual energy statement, but I had to look for it 18%
The information and advice on my annual energy statement was clear 30%
I would feel confident about using this information to shop around 27%
I have used this information to compare prices 19%
None of these 21%
Annual energy statements include details about your yearly usage plus a prediction of how much you are likely to use the following year… How do you think you would use this information? Please tick all that apply:
This information was on my annual energy statement and was easy to find 23%
This information was on the annual energy statement, but I had to look for it 18%
The information and advice on my annual energy statement was clear 30%
I would feel confident about using this information to shop around 27%
I have used this information to compare prices 19%
None of these 21%
This information was on my annual energy statement and was easy to find 23%
This information was on the annual energy statement, but I had to look for it 18%
The information and advice on my annual energy statement was clear 30%
I would feel confident about using this information to shop around 27%
I have used this information to compare prices 19%
None of these 21%
Thinking about your annual energy statement, which of the following applies to you? Please tick all that apply:
It was clearly labelled as an annual energy statement 36%
The information it provided was different to my regular energy bills 9%
The information it provided was useful 39%
I used it to help me compare my energy prices 20%
I found the statement confusing 16%
It didn’t contain information that I wanted 4%
I couldn’t tell the difference between my annual energy statement and my regular bills 8%
The information I wanted was difficult to find 7%
I wasn’t sure why the company had sent it to me 8%
I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with the information 14%
It’s a waste of time and paper 9%
I would like to be able to opt out of receiving this information 2%
None of these 4%
Don’t know 3%
Annual energy statements include details about your yearly usage plus a prediction of how much you are likely to use the following year… Which of the following applies to you? Please tick all that apply:
I would use this information to see if my energy usage has changed over the year 45%
I would use this information to shop around for a better energy deal 35%
The information is interesting, but I’m not sure how I would actually use it 19%
I wouldn’t use this information as I don’t see the point of it 6%
I wouldn’t use this information as I don’t open/read my bills 1%
None of these 4%
Don’t know 8%
I would use this information to see if my energy usage has changed over the year 45%
I would use this information to shop around for a better energy deal 35%
The information is interesting, but I’m not sure how I would actually use it 19%
I wouldn’t use this information as I don’t see the point of it 6%
I wouldn’t use this information as I don’t open/read my bills 1%
None of these 4%
Don’t know 8%
What other information would you like to see included in your annual energy statement? Please tick all that apply:
Energy efficiency advice 42%
Details of discounts, such as direct debit discounts 56%
A table of all the current tariffs my supplier offers plus the annual cost 64%
My energy usage tracked over a number of years 46%
Details of any grants available from the supplier and the eligibility criteria 46%
Details of social tariffs and the eligibility criteria 35%
None – I wouldn’t read it anyway 9%
Energy efficiency advice 42%
Details of discounts, such as direct debit discounts 56%
A table of all the current tariffs my supplier offers plus the annual cost 64%
My energy usage tracked over a number of years 46%
Details of any grants available from the supplier and the eligibility criteria 46%
Details of social tariffs and the eligibility criteria 35%
None – I wouldn’t read it anyway 9%
Transparentised version of Image:Gluehlampe 01...

Image via Wikipedia

If you’ve noticed that some of the average bill sizes we quote are lower, it’s not because you are getting a better deal, or because prices have gone down, it’s because the way the average bill is calculated has changed.

This change won’t affect you directly, it is just because Ofgem has decided that the typical gas and electricity use for a medium user is lower than it was before.

We use typical gas and electricity usage to calculate what the average bill will be for all the different tariffs on the market.

Previously, Ofgem said the typical energy a medium user would consume in a year was 20, 500kWh for gas and 3,300kWh for electricity.

However, the typical gas usage has been lowered and the medium consumption figure is 16,500 kWh.

Ofgem speculates that increased energy efficiency measures have led to a decrease in typical gas energy use; however it isn’t sure why the same hasn’t happened with electricity.

It may be because, although there are more electricity efficient gadgets available, the total number of electrical gadgets a household is likely to use has increased.

Typical usage changes happen over a period of years so that they can be based on long-term trends and figures.

A uSwitch investigation revealed that some of the major phone companies, including Orange, Three, T-Mobile and Virgin Media have charged customers too much VAT.

VAT went up from 17.5% to 20% from 4th January, but some companies backdated the increase so that it came into effect for the whole of the first bill their customers got after the rise.

I took a personal interest in this story, because I noticed earlier in the month that I’d been overcharged. As you can see on this copy of my bill, although the billing period was the month leading up to 8th January, I was charged 20% the whole time. In reality, only four days of that bill should actually have been charged at 20%.

The difference is only about £1, and it’s probably more hassle than it’s worth to claim it back, but it’s still annoying.

It’s baffling as well, because the phone companies won’t be profiting from this – the VAT will go straight to the taxman!

How do you feel about this? If you were affected, are you angry? Or are you not bothered because the amount so low?