Tuesday 22 August 2017

'Cheaper' energy plans can start you off on higher bills

ELECTRICITY: Watch the bills
ELECTRICITY: Watch the bills
Louise McBride

Louise McBride

Louise McBride

If you're considering switching to a cheaper gas or electricity provider, it's important that you understand what you're signing up to.

To get some of the best discounts out there, you may have to sign up to a monthly budgeting plan, where you pay a set amount for your gas and electricity every month, regardless of the time of year.

However, your bills could initially be slightly higher than average under such plans.

Under the Bord Gais 'Level Pay' plan, for example, your set monthly payments are based on your most recent energy usage and how much you used over the last year.

According to the terms and conditions of Bord Gais Level Pay, "an initial tolerance, typically 20 per cent, is added for variations in your usage".

This means the first few bills you receive could be about a fifth higher than average – although your monthly payments can be changed later on to reflect any higher or lower energy usage.

"At the end of the first year and annually thereafter, any balance of over or under payment will normally be allocated to the next year's monthly payments except if the amount is judged by Bord Gais Energy to be excessive," state the conditions of the plan.

"If this is the case, then Bord Gais Energy will require payment of the balance or reimburse the balance prior to continuing the facility in the following year."

If you find that the monthly payments initially set for you under a budget plan are too high, you should ring the energy company, advise them of your average bill – and agree a new payment.

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