Monday 26 September 2016

Inside track: Switching is not always the answer

Colin Bebbington

Published 14/06/2015 | 02:30

switching energy provider
switching energy provider

Should I stay or should I go? It's a question that is likely on the minds of many energy customers as different offers pop up almost daily from gas and electricity providers. It's easy for consumers to get confused, especially when everyone seems to say that switching is the answer.

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Before switching though, it's important to understand there are benefits to staying with an energy provider and sometimes limited offers aren't always the best option in the long run. If you're thinking of switching, there are many things to consider before making up your mind.

Dual fuel supply

It's quite common for customers to have their electricity account with one provider and their gas with another. Customers should be aware that there are savings to be made if they 'bundle' energy accounts together with one provider.

Bord Gais Energy has just launched a new dual fuel or 'bundle bonus' product. If you're an existing gas customer and sign up for electricity, you can get 7pc off your gas, 12pc off your electricity and receive €100 cash back. This amounts to over €270 savings on the average annual gas and electricity bill.

Payment options

Most providers will have a range of payment options and price plans, but customers may not be aware of exactly what's available. We offer the only fixed-rate plans on the market through which customers can fix their energy prices for 12 or 24 months, giving them a level of certainty about their bills.

Another option is a payment plan like Level Pay, which gives customers control over costs. A monthly amount is agreed based on the previous year's consumption and customers pay the same amount every month for their electricity or gas, through direct debit. By signing up to Level Pay with Bord Gais, customers can get 2pc off their bills. The monthly payment amounts are re-assessed every year and amended depending on usage and prices.

Paperless billing/online account management

There's a range of options available which allow customers to manage their accounts online and view bills, transactions and submit meter readings.

Managing your account information and bills online can be a very convenient option and there's the added benefit that it's environmentally friendly by saving on paper bills. As a bonus, by opting for paperless billing with Bord Gais Energy, customers can save 3pc off their bills.

Ongoing discounts

While switching offers can expire after a 12 or 24-month period, there are discounts available for customers who stay with their provider, to reward them for their loyalty. Bord Gais Energy offers an ongoing 5pc discount for all existing customers.

Rewards clubs

A rewards club is a company's way of saying thanks, just for being a customer. If you haven't already, it's a good idea to research whether your energy provider has a rewards club and what's on offer. For example, through the Bord Gais Energy Rewards Club we offer discounted and pre-sale tickets to the Bord Gais Energy Theatre. Customers can also earn Tesco Clubcard points when paying their energy bills - one point for every €2 and every €5 of Clubcard vouchers gets €10 off a bill.

Colin Bebbington is residential category controller at Bord Gais Energy

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