The average Irish household would save around €1600 over four years if it switched energy providers on an annual basis yet just a fraction of us choose to do so.
Switching providers can seem a bit daunting but it’s easier than you think, and the savings could make a real difference. Choosy.ie is a new comparison site that makes it even easier to find the best deal for you.
To find out more about making the switch, we spoke to Tony Cross of Choosy.ie. If you’d like to make significant savings on your energy costs, here’s what you need to know.
One of the advantages of switching provider is the opportunity to get a discounted rate or a cashback offer when you make the switch.
“Just be aware that any discount you sign up to is only for 12 months so it’s absolutely worth taking action after that 12 months,” explains Tony. “Even conservative estimates suggest that your electricity bill will be about €200 to €300 more expensive per year if you don’t take any action. For gas, it will probably be at least another €100.”
In order to truly get the benefits of switching, it’s something that you’ll need to do every year.
Cashback offers can be an enticing incentive for new customers. Who doesn’t like free money? Most providers will automatically credit your account with the money after you’ve paid your second bill.
However, some providers will ask you to take some action before you can claim this cashback offer.
Choosy.ie will factor in cashback offers when calculating your potential annual savings with a given provider but only if they automatically credit your account.
This may seem obvious but not every household uses the same amount of energy. So a family of four in a three-bed house will clearly use more electricity than a single person in a one-bed apartment, most likely much more than the national average used to quote your savings.
If you don’t know what your annual electricity usage is, the comparison can be based on the national average of 4200kWh a year. To get a really accurate calculation of what you could save, it pays to find out how much you’ve used in the last year.
“The best way to do that is to dig out two bills that are a year apart and look at the meter reading that’s on there. The difference in those two numbers will give you your annual usage. For households, it’s likely to be between 5,000 and 10,000kWh a year.”
Some comparison sites will offer preferential positions for providers that have a business relationship with them as this increases their chances of earning a commission.
Being independent is important to the team at Choosy because they see their site as a service to its users, not just a business.
“Even if the cheapest supplier is someone that Choosy.ie does not get a referral fee for, you will see them at the top of the list and you’ll be able to go to their website and you’ll be able to switch to them.”
Ireland is one of the few countries in the industrial world where CO2 output is higher from households than it is from industry. One way you can make a difference is by choosing an energy provider that prioritises sustainable energy.
Selecting Choosy.ie’s Eco First function gives you the option to prioritise sustainable energy providers when you get your results. You can also turn this function off but Tony points out that sustainable energy providers are usually among the most competitive options.
“Most of the renewable energy businesses are very competitive. Since I’ve been at Choosy.ie, I haven’t seen a non-renewable provider at the top of the electricity rankings.
“I’m not saying it can’t happen but, at the moment, getting 100pc renewable energy is the cheapest type of energy you can get in your home. The renewable energy providers are the cheapest on the market – possibly because they are newer businesses and want to recruit new customers.”
Switching might seem like a lot of work but Choosy.ie will help you to find the best deals and you can make the switch on the website itself. Its expert customer service team is also on hand to answer any questions you may have, whether it’s how to find your meter number or how to read your meter.
“Our view is that it will always be worth switching if you’re out of contract. Make a start, do that comparison, pick a provider and make the decision to switch. We can help you with the details. Even if it’s a half an hour’s work, it’s probably going to save you €300 a year, and much more if you’re a dual fuel (gas and electricity) switcher.”
If you would prefer to make the change over the phone, you can call Choosy.ie on 01 6995351 and they can walk you through the process.
Be smart. Be Choosy. Visit Choosy.ie from the Irish Independent and see how much you could save by switching energy supplier today.