Can you really save money from switching your electricity supplier? The answer is yes but it may take a bit of effort.
The reason that choosing the best deal has become more challenging is that most of the effective unit rates currently on offer are in a narrow band between approximately 16.5 pence and 17.5 pence a kWh.
Prices are on the move though. Power NI has led the way with a 6 per cent hike, which will become effective at the beginning of October. Other electricity suppliers are likely to up their charges too. That’s because several of the cost increases that have forced Power NI to raise their tariff apply across the board.
After all the changes are implemented in the autumn, there will be some new unit rates that are either significantly cheaper or more expensive than the average. Nevertheless it’s plausible to imagine that, as is the case now, many will end up within a relatively narrow range
In those circumstances what may well sway the choice of supplier is not just the unit rate but the various bonuses and enticements that are also on offer.
Here’s what’s currently available though it may well change.
Electric Ireland are offering a £40 switching bonus to new customers. Those who opt for online billing will secure a further £5. Paying by direct debit brings the savings up to £50. New keypad customers will get a £20 bonus immediately with a further £20 after a year with the company.
Budget Energy provides a £30 bonus to customers who sign up for their Keypad Budget Bonus twelve month contract. Leaving the deal early though may land you with a £40 termination charge.
It’s important to note that Budget Energy levy standing charges. The annual fee for keypad customers is £36.62 while for credit customers it’s £29.23. However the enirgy.info calculator factors in these charges into its estimation of bills.
Instead of bonuses, Click Energy offers its customers an “exclusive discount scheme” called click backs where they can claim discounts and more from major high-street brands and supermarkets. Details are on the company site.
New credit customers with SSE Airtricity can opt for a £55 welcome bonus together with a six per cent discount off the standard rate as long as they are prepared to pay by direct debit and use online billing. It’s a one year deal and if you leave early, a termination charge of £40 may be payable. As an alternative new credit customers can opt for bigger discounts but with no bonus. Keypad customers can get a £5 welcome bonus but again if they leave the twelve month deal early, a £40 charge may be payable.
As a regulated company Power NI is not permitted to offer introductory incentives to win new customers. However the company does offer discounts on big brands to those who sign up with its Power NI Perks scheme.
You could switch now but it would be wiser to wait until all the suppliers have applied whatever increases they're contemplating. As always before you move it’s good advice to check with the company just what bonuses and penalties may apply to the offer you’re considering.