Charlie Weston: We make life easy for utility firms by failing to move
The onset of winter means colder weather and shorter days. This means it is a good time to change our ways and stop wasting money.
Huge numbers of us are missing out on big savings by failing to switch providers when it comes to household utilities such as energy, television, home phone, mobile phones and broadband.
Moving from one supplier of electricity and gas to another could mean savings of more than €360 a year.
Yet a recent survey shows that only small numbers of householders switch, which means that most of us are missing out. Six out of 10 consumers have considered switching providers for household essentials, but then failed to carry it through, according to research commissioned by price comparison site Switcher.ie.
People do not switch because they do not want to get tied into a contract, or because they consider it to be too much hassle.
Three quarters of people have never switched TV provider, with similar numbers sticking with the same mobile provider.
We need to get over our inertia. Switching is actually easy, according to Eoin Clarke of Switcher.ie.
Households worry about signing up to a contract, but most minimum terms are between just 12 and 24 months, and providers will generally offer an introductory discount to new customers for a number of months.
And it is worth remembering that consumers can avail of a 14-day cooling-off period, where they can cancel without penalty, if they sign up for a new product or service and decide they no longer want it.
Moving provider is well worth it. The average dual-fuel energy customer can save €360 by switching from standard rates to the better deals on the market.
SSE Airtricity has the best electricity-only deal. The annual cost for a typical home is €925, a saving of almost €200 on standard rates.
On gas, Flogas has the best deal, with its Direct Debit Discount offer costing €780 for a typical household. This is a saving of €160 a year for an average household.
SSE Airtricity offers the best dual-fuel deal with its One Year Dual Fuel deal. This costs €1,758 a year. Over a year you will save €309 compared with those paying standard rates, according to Switcher.ie
In the past few days Electric Ireland said it was cutting the price of gas for its residential customers from the start of next month. The 5pc cut will mean savings of €40 a year for the average customers.
Existing Electric Ireland customers can also claim additional savings of up to 8.5pc off their energy bills if they pay by direct debit and sign up for online billing.
Sunday Indo Business