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Electricity Suppliers - advice?

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by JohnW2, 11 Mar 2019.

  1. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    Quite apart from the fact that this seems to be an Ofgem-dictated practice, I can't see that they really have any alternative. Since they don't have a crystal ball, they can but presume that (if one is one some non-variable tariff) one will revert to the suppliers 'standard variable tariff' when their current tariff deal ends (which is precisely what would happen if one 'did nothing').

    As I've said, and to my surprise, it makes virtually no difference in my case - since the (usually 'expensive) 'standard variable tariff' being offered to me by my supplier is virtually the same as the cheapest deal being offered to me by my supplier! It seems rather crazy that I can get a fixed price for 2 years for (initially) just ~6p/day more than their 'standard variable tariff' (which will undoubtedly increase appreciably in cost during that 2 year period)!

    Kind Regards, John
     
    Last edited: 12 Mar 2019
  2. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    Yes, as I wrote yesterday, I was a bit concerned by those reviews of Together Energy, which are almost all pretty awful.

    As you say, the reviews (of anything) one sees are usually highly polarised - since people are usually only motivated to write a review if they are very unhappy or very happy. However, in contrast with many/most of the other suppliers whose reviews I've looked at on the MoneySavingExpert site, those extremes are anything but 'balanced' in the case of Together Energy, the great majority being of the 'very unhappy' type!

    Another thing I've notices about the cheap deals from small companies is that many of them increase DD amounts during Winter months. Whilst I can understand that from their (cashflow) viewpoint, it partially defeats the advantages of a 'fixed monthly DD' to a customer (i.e. spreading the cost equally over a whole year). The MoneySavingExpert site warns that some of the suppliers take 'much more' in Winter DDs, but for Together Energy they say that it may be 20% higher during Winter. It's a bit of an annoyance for my particular situation, since the reality is that my consumption is pretty constant throughout the year!

    ... so, I'm still 'wondering' about Together Energy!

    Kind Regards, John
     
  3. AndyPRK

    AndyPRK

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    The mse cheap energy club gives you another calculation option, of compare with current tariff. which is useful part way through a fixed tariff.

    I think energy help line may do this too
     
    Last edited: 12 Mar 2019
  4. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    OK, the MSE website is now working again....

    For the Together Energy deal I've been looking at, Uswitch gives exactly the same figures as the Together Energy website, namely 15.932 p/kWh day and 10.968 p/kWh night, with a Standing Charge of 24.25 (well, 24.247 in one case) p/day.

    For the identical tariff and address, MoneySavingExpert gives 16.576 p/kWh day, 10.279 p/kWh night and 25.96 p/day Standing charge.

    However, having now done the sums, and given my fairly high (about 50%) night-time usage, the somewhat lower night rate in the MSE figures more-or-less cancels the higher day rate and Standing charge. In fact, for my usage, the MSE figures would only result in the cost being 38p more per year :)

    It continues to be the case that everything about the Together Energy deal other than the iffy reviews is attracting me, not the least because it's the only 3-year fixed-price deal I've so far found (and at a price very similar to what I'm currently paying - before E.ON's attempted 27-28% increase!).

    Kind Regards, John
     
  5. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    Thanks - but I can, and do, do my own calculations and comparisons - I just need the (day and night) prices per kWh and the Standing charge from these websites.

    Kind Regards, John
     
  6. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    I've been looking more at reviews, and am a little reassured.

    In addition to the ~80 entries in the review thread on the MoneySavingExpert site (~75% 'bad'), there are about 3,500 reviews on TrustPilot (46% bad/poor). I've just read through a fair number of them, and most are about money - primarily refunds of credit balances and billing.

    A high proportion of the bad reviews I have seen relate to problems/delays in getting refunds of credit balances which already existed when Ofgem transferred people from One Select (when it went bust) to Together Energy - an issue which is not relevant to me. A lot of the rest relate to difficulties and delays in getting final bills and refunds of credit balances when people eventually move away from Together Energy. Then there are, as with most suppliers, complains of over-estimated/incorrect bills (and consequential rises in DDs) with, again, some difficulties in getting back consequential appreciable credit balances.

    Most people seem to say that the Customer Services individuals are pleasant and try to be helpful (within the constraints of company policies/capabilities), but most of the issues concerned (as above) seem to be what one might expect of a small company which is sailing quite close to the wind as regards cashflow.

    The bottom line is that I'm probably thinking a bit more positively now that I have looked in more detail at the nature of the poor reviews. Someone (can't remember who!) in this thread mentioned that they had had no problems with Together Energy, but I wonder iof anyone else reading this has any experiences to report?

    Silly though it is, I'm tempted to send an e-mail to their Customer Services people, indicating that I am considering switching to them and confronting them with the issues of the reviews (of which they must be aware), 'for their comment'! There's obviously not much that they can/could say (and probably nothing they could say which would make any difference to my ultimate decision) but, if I don't just get some 'boilerplate' response, it might be interesting to see what they actually have to say!

    Kind Regards, John
     
  7. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    Well, I did send them a 'silly' e-mail and, after about 48 hours, I have not yet had a reply (even a 'boilerplate' one) - which perhaps doesn't bode too well for 'customer service' (their website says that they aim to respond to queries within 8 hours). We'll see.

    Another supplier I'm looking at is "ESB". Even though they have hardly started (in the UK), I gather that they are the established 'state' electricity supplier in Ireland, and also have a fair stake in electricity generation/distribution both in Ireland and, more recently, UK. There are quite a lot of 'glowing reviews' online but, given that they are so young s UK suppliers, most relate only to the ease of switching to the company. Does anyone know anything more about this company?

    Kind Regards, John
     
  8. Harry Bloomfield

    Harry Bloomfield

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    I just seek out the cheapest quote each November for combined G&E and go with it. I joined the Money Saving Expert's Energy Club which keeps me up to date with offers, knows my consumption, preferences and has no commercial axe to grind. Some they can subscribe you up to directly, others you have to do yourself via a link they provide.

    My alternative would be one of those sites you subscribe to which automatically puts you on the best deal, when ever it is worth your switching, anytime of year. A longer term fix is a gamble on the price of fuel, do you feel lucky.

    Worst possible thing is to stay with a supplier, once a fix has ended. Only the fools do that.
     
  9. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    That was essentially my intention. However, having been reading a lot of the reviews, I'm a little concerned by many of the complaints about 'cheap' suppliers being that they unilaterally increase DD amounts excessively, such that a large credit balance accumulates, and that people then sometimes have a devil of a job (or, at least, a very slow job) when they switch to a different supplier. Have you encountered anything like that?
    That's certainly what one would normally expect/think, but that seems to have stopped being the case with my present (albeit 'expensive') supplier (E.ON). As I have said, when my current fixed-price deal ends next month, the ONLY difference between the default position (falling back to their 'standard variable rate') and going for their best 'cheapest new deal (1 year fixed price) on offer' is a a 6p per day difference in standing change, and the ONLY difference relative to a 2-year fixed price deal is even less (only a 3p per day difference in standing charge)!

    Maybe some of our Irish contributors could tell me something about ESB?

    Kind Regards, John
     
  10. SimonH2

    SimonH2

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    Then I must be a terrible fool :whistle: Thing is, I checked and my current supplier was still competitive - so no need to switch. Same thing with my car insurance - competitive, and more to the point aren't stupid when it comes to modified vehicles.

    For a laugh I once tried putting details into one of the insurance comparison websites - only 3 companies would quote, and the cheapest was nearly £10k/year :eek: My current insurer is fairly relaxed about modifications while many simply have a blanket policy of won't insure anything that's not as it left the factory*. My current insurer can see that there's really little difference in risk of replacing the original factory installed 3.5l V8 engine (with carbs) with a later (EFI version) 3.5l V8 from a Range Rover - while other insurers simply see "modified engine" and put you in the category of the kids who put some properly souped up engine in a (eg) Clio and promptly wrap it around the scenery when enthusiasm goes further than their talent :eek:
    Price isn't everything, except to those who know the price of everything but the value of nothing.

    * The funniest conversation was with a rep from one company, who's name I can't recall. Anyway, they wouldn't insure my 110 because of having more than 8 (passenger) seats - and the fact that some had been removed made no difference as "they could easily be refitted". Had the vehicle left the factory without the seats that's I'd removed, then it would have been OK even though it would have been just as easy to add them. The logic fail of this was not lost on the guy - who could only say something along the lines of "Sorry, I know it's daft, but that's the rule we have".
     
  11. Harry Bloomfield

    Harry Bloomfield

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    No, I have not experienced any problems with the cheaper, smaller suppliers, or excess DD's my understanding is that they cannot change the amount without your approval and all have paid up quickly at the end. I thought they had to pay up anyway, within so many days of your moving. What does seem to vary is the quality of their service and their websites. Bristol's site was a mess and made it difficult to keep an eye on consumption.

    I have just switched to e.on and they were quoted as the cheapest supplier, or close to cheapest. Maybe down to me being a new customer, but I was with them in 2015.
     
  12. Harry Bloomfield

    Harry Bloomfield

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    If the quote is competitive, ye stay with them, but most rely on customers staying put, without checking the competition. Those people help pay for the new customer discounts which I take advantage of.

    I have had the same car insurer 6 years, that remains competitive. My partner dealt with the house insurance, until I noticed it had crept up year on year with no claims, to £560. I got it down to £89 for the same cover.
     
  13. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    I thought that the 'Variable Amount Direct Debit Mandates' were essentially what they say, although maybe one has some right of 'veto'. Certainly with E.ON, when they decide to change the DD amount (which they only do at 'bill time', once every 6 months), they just do it - although, as you have probably found, you can then go on-line and cahnge it again yourself (upo to ~20% down or ~40% up).
    I think there is such a 'rule', but many people seem to complain that it can take weeks or months, and sometimes requires resort to the relevant Ombudsman. It looks as if a loophole may be that the requirement seems to be that credit balances must be repaid within a certain period after presentation of the final bill - and some companies produce all sorts of excuses for delaying producing that finalk bill (usually a claim that they have not had a final meter reading, when they have!).
    That is very odd - could you perhaps tell me the name of your tariff? The reason I'm going through this exercise is that the tariffs being offered to me (as an existing customer) by E.ON (to switch to, given that my present deal ends next month) are about 30% higher than what many of the small companies are offering me (and nearly 30% higher than what I am currently being charged by E.ON).

    Kind Regards, John
     
  14. Harry Bloomfield

    Harry Bloomfield

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    I'm on a fixed (but adjustable) DD amount monthly, calculated to balance aim for a zero balance over the full 12 months.

    I'm on E.ON Go Online 1 Year v20

    Gas
    Unit rate 3.632p per kWh
    Standing charge 14.700p per day

    Electric
    Unit rate 15.498p per kWh
    Standing charge 11.550p per day

    I run a spreadsheet, updated with weekly values of gas, electric and water consumption, just to keep an eye on things. My consumption varies little from year to year.
     
  15. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    For what it’s worth (corrected version!) …

    …. the cheapest 1-year fixed price deal I'm being offered as an existing customer of E.ON ("Fix Online V11") for my (electricity only) E7 is 21.284p day and 11.004p night (which, for my ~50% night usage equates to about 18.29p), with a 15.383p per day standing charge.

    However, the cheapest 1-year fixed deal ("People's Energy") being offered to me on the MSE website is 17.147p/7.844p (equivalent to 14.33p), with 16.42p/day standing charge - which is about 22% lower than the best that E.ON is offering me.

    Whilst our situations are obviously a bit different, that makes me a ;ittle surprised that the E.ON deal ws the cheapest for you.

    Similar here, but supplemented by per-minute electricity usage data from my monitoring (which always corresponds almost exactly to meter-based data).

    Kind Regards, John
     
    Last edited: 15 Mar 2019 at 7:27 PM
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