Time to switch

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By Michelle Newman

Have you made the decision to be a bit more environmentally conscious this year, or are you simply looking for ways to cut down on your household bills?

Managing director of Switcher.ie, Eoin Clarke, recommends changing your gas and electricity supplier every year to make sure you are availing of the best deals in the market. 

“We’re encouraging people to make their hard-earned cash go that bit further by making sure that they switch on a regular basis,” he says.

“This is the perfect time of the year to do so, especially if you’re setting our your budget for the coming months and households should note that there are discounts in the marketplace as high as 33 per cent.”

You should change your supplier when your 12 month contract ends

In most cases people sign up to yearly contracts and when you do so, you receive a discount for a 12 month period.

Some energy suppliers offer reoccurring discounts, but in most cases when that 12 month period ends you’ll automatically be moved to the suppliers rate, which are the most expensive in the market. When you notice your bills increasing, that’s when you should switch to a new supplier.

Yearly changes amount to the biggest savings

By changing from one supplier to another every year, you are making sure you are paying the lowest possible rates for your energy and availing of the biggest discounts.

By switching suppliers you could avail of the following:

-       New customer discounts

-       Discounts for paying by direct debit

-       Opting for online billing instead of receiving a bill in the post

If you haven’t switched supplier in a few years you should …

Shop around by using an accredited price comparison website, like Switcher.ie. The benefits are it’s impartial, accurate and has all the best deals in the market place. There’s a perception out there that switching is a big hassle and takes time but we guide you through the process which takes about five minutes.

Watch out for the best deals

The rates do change a couple of times a year and there has never been a better time to switch in terms of value and competition in the marketplace.

Value can look different for everyone depending on your consumption, your current supplier and what deal you’re looking for. Larger discounts may suit someone who consumes a lot of energy, while a cashback offer might make more financial sense for someone who lives alone. 

Take control of your household bills

·      Make sure you’re viewing and analysing your bills on a regular basis, taking note of your consumption and unit rate

·      Submit regular readings to your energy supplier to make sure the meter readings are accurate

·      Set a yearly reminder to indicate when you are out of contract and should change supplier 

When switching supplier you will need:

1. A copy of your gas and electricity bill or bills. These have a GPRN and an MPRN, gas and meter point reference numbers, which are unique to the meter in your home.

2. Submit a meter reading; your new energy supplier will pass this on to your old supplier and that’s how they cut off your final bill.

3. Have a your bank details at hand as you may need to submit your IBAN and BIC or SWIFT code.

The savings speak for themselves

When switching from standard, typical tariffs to the cheapest deals in the market, an average three-bedroom household in Ireland when switching from s can save up to €337 per year, that’s an awful lot of money. 

You can switch back to an energy supplier you’ve been with previously, still be classed as a new customer and avail of these discounts.

For more information visit www.switcher.ie

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Take three… energy saving appliances

1. For a cuppa

This kettle can make up to six cups at a time, but if you’re keen to cut down on your energy bill, it can also boil one to two cups of water which could save up to 70% more energy.

Russell Hobbs Black 'Colour Plus' kettle €35 from Debenhams 

2. For the outdoors

If you’re looking for a stylish asset for your garden, this solar powered lantern features three energy-saving LED lights and a built in solar panel, which can give up to six hours of light at nighttime.

Smart Solar Seville Solar Lantern €27.99 from Littlewoods Ireland

3. For your home  

If you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, this switch is fantastic as it allows you to see how much energy you’re consuming at a glance, daily, monthly or yearly graphs, and also ways in which you can make your home more energy efficient.

Elgato Eve Energy Smart Wireless Power Switch €54.99 from Argos

Catherine Devane