I would say I’m quite savvy when it comes to switching energy suppliers. I’m not afraid to shop around.
However, I find myself constantly baffled and no supplier has managed yet to unbaffle me.
When I switch, I’m always offered a fabulous deal, seemingly cheaper than my previous supplier. I can guarantee that within six months, that monthly fee will go up – and before I know it I will be paying a very similar amount.
Only this week my monthly bill of £120 is being put up to over £140. In the space of a year, my ‘great’ monthly offering of £70 has doubled. No telephone call has been made to me about this – just an e-mail saying ‘this will be happening’.
Our consumption hasn’t gone up by that amount. In fact, my electricity reading was less than the estimate. I suspect what’s happening here is that the introductory ‘special’ offer bears little relation to actual usage and, when you are on the hook, your bill will rise.
It reminds me of the lease car deals – where you can get a high-end car for whatever you can afford per month, but at the end there will be an enormous payment.
Part of the problem though is that it’s still so hard to read the bill. Not only can I not work out how much energy I’m using – I can’t even work out whether I’m in credit or debit. When I called up to query this, I was kept waiting for more than ten minutes on the phone twice. When I emailed and asked for a response, nothing happened for more than a week. It’s surprising what complaining on Twitter can achieve though!
Finally I spoke to a friendly human being, increased my direct debit but not by the amount dictated – and asked one very important question – do you have a better deal? The answer was yes. Result – a new fixed rate.