Rochdale Observer - - PROPERTY & LIVING -

ome­own­ers who reg­u­larly check and are pre­pared to switch gas and elec­tric­ity tar­iffs get the best deals. And those who don’t are stuck with pay­ing more. That’s not just the view of Which? Switch, the con­sumer cham­pion’s free to use on­line and phone-based tool – or any of the other switch­ing ser­vices.

It’s also the opin­ion of the boss of one of Bri­tain’s big­gest gas and elec­tric­ity sup­pli­ers. Eon UK chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Lewis re­cently told MPs on the Busi­ness Select Com­mit­tee that: “I think it is right that some­body who en­gages with the mar­ket and searches for a prod­uct that is right for them gets a bet­ter deal than the per­son who does not.” In other words, you can save loads of money if you can be both­ered to make the ef­fort to look. But if you don’t, tough.

About one in nine UK homes – around four mil­lion – are signed up to Eon, but about two thirds re­main on its stan­dard vari­able tar­iff, mean­ing av­er­age con­sumers pay £103 a year more than on Eon’s best tar­iff, even more, per­haps, switch­ing to an­other sup­plier.

It’s not just Eon. The numbers are much the same at other big sup­pli­ers such as British Gas, Npower, SSE, EDF and Scot­tish Power. Al­though British Gas says it is end­ing the stan­dard vari­able tar­iff, that only ap­plies to new cus­tomers – ac­cord­ing to ev­i­dence de­liv­ered to MPs – and it is un­clear how it will prompt ex­ist­ing cus­tomers to change. Power com­pa­nies make their best prof­its from cus­tomers on their most ex­pen­sive deals.

For, un­like cars or com­put­ers or ket­tles where pay­ing more can of­ten en­sure more fea­tures or bet­ter re­li­a­bil­ity, fork­ing out more for gas and elec­tric­ity is a waste of money. What­ever you pay and what­ever com­pany you use, what comes through the pipes and wires is ex­actly the same.

Switch­ing to some­thing bet­ter is easy and al­ways worth check­ing out, es­pe­cially if you have not changed be­fore or your last switch was more than two years ago. To start the process with Which? Switch, all you need to do is to in­put your post­code, whether you are a buyer or a ren­ter,

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