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Changing energy suppliers for both Electric and Gas in UK


One 48
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Hope this is OK to post here?

What it is and this site has a large volume of UK residents being Brit Modeller and all, great to see other nations chime in too.

Struggling keeping up with the best energy supplier to be honest and find it a big headache ... as do most older folk now i guess? saw my late parents ripped off silly tarrif wise when I had to deal with their estates and sorting it all out.

Ofgem are the folk to deal with for complaints I think, but maybe as much use as an ash tray on a Motorcycle for the average Joe like me. I don't want to go down that windy road and incur more phone bills.

Wont name names, but my current energy supplier has let me down badly ... in fact have a history of being ripped off by them and when meters were needing changed and now advent of smart meters ... does anybody really trust smart meters and regular calibration of them? Have always used normal meters, not pay as you go or card meters, always called in my meter readings religiously every three months, explained to them 5 years ago and they were cool with it, never a problem ... but recently, they are demanding meter reading ever few weeks it seems, can get no peace from their demands for more money and it makes it hard to budget my regular limited income when you get irregular demands for money like that, and i really do dispute latest bill they give me, it does not match my latest meter reads, ... spent and ... not joking, near 2 hours in a call que to get through and it was overseas and a bit of a language barrier, guy would put me on hold for ages, no background music or anything, then come back and still non the wiser and start from beginning again, this happened several times and another hour on phone of this ... you might be surprised who this company are, but wont name and shame here, this went on for ages and still none the wiser about discrepancy in my bill? ... IMHO with Covid, and it is tragic, company's have culled there call centres to the bone, getting a knowledgeable person to sort it out now is impossible ... it does seem I've been paying over the odds though for many a year and want a better tariff, preferably with good customer support too should it go pear shaped again.

Please name a good reliable UK Energy supplier please I could switch to ... its a minefield for me, imagine what it must be like for very elderly folk being hounded by these people.

Tarriff comparison sites, been to them online, you can get so far than they ask your killowhatever usage and more ... its just over complicated, we are not all bright sparks.

It should be much simpler and easier for folk that are not good with numbers. I really despair for pensioners living alone ... I am good with lots of things in life, but stuff like this I just fall apart at the seams, stress city :(

:(

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Octopus. Which? winner 4 years in a row. They ask for your meter readings online, and you get monthly statements online. Easy, straightforward, dual fuel deals. Excellent customer service and good prices.

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38 minutes ago, bentwaters81tfw said:

Octopus. Which? winner 4 years in a row. They ask for your meter readings online, and you get monthly statements online. Easy, straightforward, dual fuel deals. Excellent customer service and good prices.

Another for Octopus, switched to them recently, Bill dropped £20 a month and their customer service is excellent. 

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I'm happy with Octopus - particularly today as I just received an overpayment refund - just 5 days after requesting it. All is done online (you submit your own readings), but website is good and very clear regarding costs, usage and account balance (unlike others I have used) - and will actually tell you if you're paying too much (never had that before).

 

Colin

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Another Octopus customer here. Our local council did a group tender and Octopus won, this was last year. We signed up then and have re-signed with them this year. Also if you recommend anyone you get £50 credit once it goes through.

 

Regards

Robert

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I've just switched to So Energy. Best deal for us cost wise, saving £24 per month. So far the switch has gone smoothly and the So customer service seems excellent. Like most its all done online.

 

Knowing your energy consumption and then using one of the online comparison sites you can search for the best deal in your area. Once you got an idea of what these are check each deal out and follow up on other people's reviews of that supplier. Just watch for the 'hidden' detail such as possible price increases, early termination amounts etc.

 

Hope this helps.

 

P

Edited by PDH
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7 hours ago, One 48 said:

Wont name names, but my current energy supplier has let me down badly ... in fact have a history of being ripped off by them

 ... but recently, they are demanding meter reading ever few weeks it seems, can get no peace from their demands for more money and it makes it hard to budget my regular limited income

Sounds like a horror story, perhaps you should name them.  After all if there was a badly made kit it would be good to find out about it without having to buy it.

I have been with Avro energy for quite a few years, I'm paying less now than I was with one of the big companies (Eon)  It's all online, I send them monthly meter readings, they have offered me a smart meter but I have declined.  No hassle, no problems and no stress.  As for your annual energy usage, that should be on your bill, moneysavingexpert.com will also accept your annual expenditure to work out your annual consumption.  Hope this helps.

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Also with Avro and no complaints here - way cheaper than the big names.  Had problems years ago with E.ON, including them insisting on switching us to smart meters, which we didn't want, and subsequently having to remove them because they couldn't get a reliable signal. 

Edited by Six97s
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2019/20 a number of new entrants to the energy supply market that had been offering cheap prices went bust as wholesale prices rose and they couldn’t raise the prices to their customers on fixed tariffs. I stay away from companies with funny names I haven’t heard of.

 

I recommend using U-Switch. They ask for your current provider and tariff, and your usage either in £ or kWh. And it throws out a list of suppliers in your area (not everyone covers the whole of the U.K.). I’m finding that each time I take out a fixed tariff for 12-18 months, when it ends I can find someone cheaper than the current supplier’s best new price.

 

As for the handover, it is a lot smoother now than it was a few years ago. One lot (NPower IIRC) took 9 months to act on the opening meter readings and were sending estimated bills. Took several complaints, and some compensation, to get that sorted. Worst part now is the time difference between the gas and electric readings reaching the new company. Don’t understand why when they both are given to oldco at the same time and go through the same system.

 

Latest supplier is Shell Energy. Last was ESB from Ireland. Only reason for changing was the price. But having to chase savings every 12-18 months is a complete faff. And for anyone not on the internet a complete impossibility.

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Not meaning to hijack the thread but does anybody know how to get help with a smart meter which doesn't send readings to your provider?

 

Last August I gave in to pressure from SSE and got a smart meter installed. The engineer couldn't get it to connect to the network and eventually departed leaving me with a card which said somebody would be in touch to resolve the problem within 90 days. Needless to say that didn't happen and shortly before Christmas, after several unsuccessful attempts to telephone SSE, I resorted to messaging them on Facebook. They told me the SSE "Appointments team" would get in touch but, three months on nothing has happened and they seem to have stopped responding to Facebook messages. I cannot submit a manual reading because the SSE website thinks I have a smart meter and I have no idea whether I'm paying too much or too little. The situation is even more maddening because I live within walking distance of SSE's headquarters but I cannot have a sensible conversation with anybody to get this sorted.

 

I've been thinking about switching for some time and this experience of SSE's customer non-service has made up my mind but I really need to get the meter business sorted first.

 

Suggestions gratefully received.

 

Dave G

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Thanks all.

Will name and shame as some one asked, Its British Gas I'm with just now., tried several suppliers over the decades too, but been with BG for maybe last 4 or 5 years? knew they were not the cheapest but were within a percentage of being cheapest but their customer support was top notch if you needed it ... that was until Covid and they slashed their talented call centre staff to the bone, this latest still unresolved epic call to overseas with them that lasted in excess of 2.5 hrs easily ... but hopefully still at UK rates? It was the final straw from me with BG.

I'll look at USwitch again and dig out old bills etc for my usage, at my age hate change ... in my younger days I would thrive on it LOL, heard good things about Octopus Energy will try them if they are in my area.

I guess its something we will need to get used to in these new times, changing energy suppliers often if needed.

Thanks all and BM for allowing this thread that maybe could be contentious.

Edited by One 48
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10 hours ago, Skodadriver said:

Not meaning to hijack the thread but does anybody know how to get help with a smart meter which doesn't send readings to your provider?

 

Last August I gave in to pressure from SSE and got a smart meter installed. The engineer couldn't get it to connect to the network and eventually departed leaving me with a card which said somebody would be in touch to resolve the problem within 90 days. Needless to say that didn't happen and shortly before Christmas, after several unsuccessful attempts to telephone SSE, I resorted to messaging them on Facebook. They told me the SSE "Appointments team" would get in touch but, three months on nothing has happened and they seem to have stopped responding to Facebook messages. I cannot submit a manual reading because the SSE website thinks I have a smart meter and I have no idea whether I'm paying too much or too little. The situation is even more maddening because I live within walking distance of SSE's headquarters but I cannot have a sensible conversation with anybody to get this sorted.

 

I've been thinking about switching for some time and this experience of SSE's customer non-service has made up my mind but I really need to get the meter business sorted first.

 

Suggestions gratefully received.

 

Dave G

 

Dave, more knowledgeable folk than me here for UK energy stuff will chime in for you I'm sure, no worry about hijacking thread, this concerns a lot of us mate, if you cant get through to SSE by phone or online about your smart meter, take it to the next level, seems a lot of the energy company's first resort to Covid was to slash customer support and they cant keep up with limited work at home staff and online staff to deal with problems ... perhaps try one last email saying sort it or its OFGEM, that can scare some of them into action because they can be fined ... difficult times in Covid though.

However, some company's do seem to be still delivering a good service in these harsh pandemic times, all we want is fair and accurate billing and an easy option to switch if we so choose ... I still don't trust smart meters, especially after your experience mate.

Hope you get it sorted.

 

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I’m an avid energy switcher as educated by the Money saving website. As some above I/we were with AVRO for a few years and all was dandy, however their tariff was fine but the daily charged started to creep up. So I switched to E.ON, not the cheapest but I felt confident that the service would be good and certainly the numbers did add up. However nearly a year in I’m waiting on a smart meter which they’ve excused away (even though they say it’s part of the t&s’s). Their website site is very user unfriendly. Like others I input my figures weekly and it used to give you a live financial reading of your account, so I’d make overpayments to keep it at zero balance. It now doesn’t do this and when I have actually been able to get hold of any (ignoring that virtual chat thing which isn’t a human) body, it’s just shocking. Sorry for the moan but AVOID E.ON. 

 

Steve (old fart).

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Well our switch to So Energy is complete, fixed price for a year. Just had a look at Octopus Energy and got a quote for their prices - they want £12 a month more for the same estimated consumption. So shopping around helps.

 

On the subject of smart meters. We had one installed here when we moved in - a new build - and we were signed up to E.ON. Worked fine, then we switched supplier and regularly the meter would switch off the gas supply, usually late a night, with the message "No Credit". A bit of faffing around got us connected again but then we had to sort out the boiler so it was extremely annoying. At the time we had switched to British Gas so we complained and they switched out the smart meter and gave us an old fashioned meter (which we are still using despite all the attempts get us to agree to a smart meter, we just say no!). We learnt that the British Gas computers couldn't reliably read the smart meter because they had been installed by E.ON and there was a compatibility problem.

 

My recommendation to anyone wanting to get shot of/sort out sort meter problems is to go ahead and sort out a switch but before committing and changing suppliers talk to your chosen supplier and see what the best way of sorting out the problem is. If the supplier is any good they will arrange meter swap for you. The new smaller companies definitely seem better at customer relations than the like of the big established suppliers.

 

Well my 2p worth, Hope it helps.

P

Edited by PDH
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1 hour ago, One 48 said:

 

Dave, more knowledgeable folk than me here for UK energy stuff will chime in for you I'm sure, no worry about hijacking thread, this concerns a lot of us mate, if you cant get through to SSE by phone or online about your smart meter, take it to the next level, seems a lot of the energy company's first resort to Covid was to slash customer support and they cant keep up with limited work at home staff and online staff to deal with problems ... perhaps try one last email saying sort it or its OFGEM, that can scare some of them into action because they can be fined ... difficult times in Covid though.

However, some company's do seem to be still delivering a good service in these harsh pandemic times, all we want is fair and accurate billing and an easy option to switch if we so choose ... I still don't trust smart meters, especially after your experience mate.

Hope you get it sorted.

 

Or try one more time but direct to the CEO along with threat that next step is OFGEN. I’ve had success with that route in the past. Once the CEO (or their immediate underlings) starts asking questions all sorts of problems further down the food chain suddenly disappear and the problem is taken seriously. You can usually find the relevant contact details somewhere on the internet.

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I don’t know if anybody has tried www.lookaftermybills.com - they look for the cheapest offer and after 12-18 months automatically do the same again. I may be mistaken, but I think they featured on Dragon’s Den. Haven’t used them myself so can’t comment, but given I’m with British Gas I might give them a go. Funnily enough, BG keep asking me for my gas readings....

 

Graham

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As an update, switched to Octopus Energy here in last hour, start date 8th April, they will deal with BG and I'll need to provide swap over meter reads I guess, have chosen monthly Direct Debit this time, probably the best way, but will still call in monthly meter reads too so that estimates don't accumulate and especially in wintertime, pretty sure I wont use their average in my small pad and will be in credit in coming warmer months especially, but like the no hassle easy going way of Octopus Energy and no lock in fee's.


Avoiding Smart meter install for now, don't trust em, the non card or credit regular meters I have are fairly/relatively new and were installed and calibrated just before Covid pandemic started, gonna stick with them a while longer yet.

Will have to pay off BG whatever I owe of course on final meter reads, but wont be sorry to see them go.

Thanks to everyone that contributed here, money saved on energy usage is money that can be spent on this hobby.

Might have to look at regular energy company switching in future, at my age would rather something more stable and pay and forget, but the industry is so dynamic and subject to change, we all have to keep an eye on things, its good at least there are choices.

Thanks again all here at BM, much appreciated ✔️

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56 minutes ago, One 48 said:

Avoiding Smart meter install for now, don't trust em,

For me its not a matter of trust, but principle - there is no benefit to me in having one (except the risk of going a bit mad checking exactly what every device is doing) - but obviously a benefit to the supplier. So when they start offering a discount for using one (like they do for direct debit), I'll consider it. I do think the marketing of smart meters was misleading - a few people I know who have them believe they would save money automatically by doing so.

 

1 hour ago, One 48 said:

Will have to pay off BG whatever I owe of course on final meter reads,

When I switched to Octopus I was able to add the outstanding amount to my Octopus account so avoiding a big one time payment

 

Cheers

 

Colin

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Interesting to read this epic from a Dutch perspective ;)

Do UK energy companies each maintain their own meters and such, or is that (like over here) in the hands of what used to be National Grid?

We do have smart meters (also not for me :P ) , and digital meters* - but not the pre-paid/creditcard stuff you do. 

 

*I use an adapter that reads the pulse from the digital meters to keep track, has it's own little webserver & network connection. Smart enough, don't need nor want that phone-home stuff from them.

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I have changed suppliers a couple of times in the past 30 years. Still on the original meters. I believe many 'smart meters' are incompatible with alternative suppliers.

Not that I will ever have one.

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37 minutes ago, bentwaters81tfw said:

I believe many 'smart meters' are incompatible with alternative suppliers.

That was the case with first gen meters - I believe the current meters are supposed to be multi - supplier compatible. But as I said before, until I have an incentive to get one, I won't.

 

Cheers

 

Colin

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Intrigued to understand the smart meter hate, when I had mine fitted they helped to substantially reduce my bill by having a visual on exactly when and where I’m using fuel. I’ve also set them to send a meter reading every two weeks so I get accurate bills, I can’t understand a downside?

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24 minutes ago, Airgunner said:

Intrigued to understand the smart meter hate

Its not so much smart meter hate for me but I'm not happy helping contribute to utility company profits without getting a share. If you want me to use a smart meter, pay me.

 

It offers no benefits for me - I'm happy with my current billing process and am quite aware about not wasting energy. I actually I think I would find having the ability to monitor actually usage might be unhealthy as I have a tendency to OCD - give me a meter to check, and I think I'll end up sitting in front of it 24/7 ! Interestingly when I mentioned this to a supplier their response was "we get a lot of that - I suggest you just hide it in the back of a cupboard" which rather confirmed my view that smart meters are primarily for the supplier's benefit.

 

Cheers

 

Colin

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