1. Who you pay
You need to know the name of your current energy provider and tariff
The "big six" energy suppliers (in order of size) are:
- British Gas
- SSE (formerly known as Scottish and Southern, Southern Electric, SWALEC & Scottish Hydro)
- EDF Energy
- Scottish Power
You may be with a smaller company such as Firt Utility or a "green energy" compnay such as The co-operative energy.
Be aware that you may get your gas and electricity from different suppliers.
2. How you pay
You need to know how you pay for your energy bills as this often affects your current costs and the tariffs available to you.
Common payment methods include:
- Direct debit every month
- Direct debit every quarter
- Payment in advance by charging a pre-payment key
- Payment on receipt of a bill every quarter
You may have a "paperless" billing method, where your bills are published to a secure portal instead of being posted to you, which can save you money annually.
3. What you pay
Your total costs are based on two factors, both of which can be found on your energy bills:
- Your current tariff name (a tariff combines the unit rate you pay for energy with the daily standing charge).
Energy companies are required to show a Tariff Comparison Rate (TCR) on bills, but this figure is a guide and not personalised to your usage.
- The amount of gas or electricity you use measured in £ or KWh (Kilotwatts per hour) used in the last 12 months.
All suppliers are required to inform customers of their likely annual costs based on previous usage. This is known as the "personal projection" and will be shown on your energy bill in the ‘Could you pay less?’ section.
You will need to know both of these in order to compare the costs with other tariffs and providers, but you will find both on your bills, whether you receive these in the post or online by email or by logging into a billing portal provided by your supplier.
If you receive bills online but have not logged in to your portal before, search through your emails to find your portal access details.
Once you have the all information above it will be easy to switch and save.