Gas And Electricity: The Most Frequently Asked Questions

December 21st, 2015
Gas And Electricity: The Most Frequently Asked Questions


Read the most frequently asked questions about gas and electricity; see the answers, compare quotes and find the best deal to suit you.

Should I switch my supplier?

If you wish to switch your energy supplier it is a very simple process; it may save you a fair sum of money in the long term; switching supplier can encourage healthy competition and fair play in the energy market too.

What do I have to do in order to switch my supplier?

All you need to do is enter your postcode and details of your current energy usage. If you don’t know your energy usage and have no bill to look at, use our simple energy calculator to get an estimate.

Do all available tariffs show up?

You have the option to see all the tariffs you can switch to on the market or those listed on Freepricecompare; it’s very easy to switch between the two.

Is there a commission payable to you if I switch energy through you?

Yes, this is normally the case; however there will be no difference in the price you pay if you went directly to the supplier as you will avoid their cost of advertising and provision of service.

What does dual fuel mean?

When gas and electricity are provided by the same supplier, it is known as dual fuel tariffs. This type of tariff is usually the best option, but you can have the option of switching gas or electricity separately; it is always possible that you could find a cheaper price this way.

What does a cooling-off period mean?

A cooling-off period of period of 14 days is allowed to you when you switch suppliers so you have time to change your mind if you wish.

How long will it take to switch my energy supplier?

At the end of the cooling off period, the switch should be no more than three days, meaning 17 days from start to finish. However, by 2018 the aim is to cut the switch period to just one day or 15 days if you include the cooling off period.

How are my energy bills calculated?

There is usually a standing charge for maintaining your supply, which is imposed by most suppliers; if this is not the case, the price charged per unit of energy is almost certainly going to be higher. Units of gas and electricity are measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). Energy plans can vary; many suppliers use a two-tier pricing structure whereby you pay more for the first units of energy you use.

Are you aware…?

  • Energy prices across various UK regions vary significantly
  • Technology such as mobile phones, smart meters and energy monitors can help you control your bills.

What type of energy tariffs are available?

The main tariffs offered are:

What does collective switching mean?

Collective switching occurs when a community of people use collective purchasing power to negotiate a tariff with the energy supplier; this can sometimes secure more favourable deals than those advertised to the wider market. It usually works as follows:

  • A registration stage: the community is assembled
  • A negotiation stage: the group uses its collective power to negotiate deals with energy suppliers
  • A switching stage: members of the community decide on take up of the deal

Are there any alternatives to the so-called ‘big six’?

Yes. There are small energy firms who can supply the same gas and electricity as the main six suppliers. Search through where you can review prices and plans from the range of UK energy suppliers.

Can tenants switch energy suppliers?

Yes, tenants have as much right to switch energy supplier as homeowners. There can be good savings to be made when they do.

Should I read my meter?

It’s a good idea to do so in order your usage can be accurately calculated when you send the reading to the supplier. When you pay for only what you have used, it will avoid paying too much or too little and avoid a shock bill later on if you have used more than an estimate. It’s advisable to read your bills too.

Will using renewable energy save me money?

Investing in renewable technology can deliver both environmental and financial benefits; however, you usually pay more upfront.

Will my energy tariff be dependent on where I live?

Yes. You may be surprised but UK regional energy prices vary quite significantly.

Does the government offer any support with energy bills?

You can find out information on this by reading our article on help with winter fuel bills.

Will technology help me lower my energy bills?

There are items like smart meters and energy monitors on the market now that can help you control your energy costs.

For answers to any further questions, see our gas and electricity guides.

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