Lower Electricity Running Costs For Your Property
In Scotland, there are no more than 20 companies who supply electricity and the gas – which means that shopping around may help you find a better deal. Supply companies play no part in the actual generation and distribution of electricity and gas, even if the parent company is involved in these activities. Whichever supplier you go with, the responsibility for metres and incoming cables and pipes remains unchanged.
Buying your energy at the lowest price
The tariffs offered by the all the energy supply companies are a combination of a standing charge and unit costs for the energy supplied. Unit costs vary, depending on whether the energy is supplied during the day or at night, and block charges for consumption above a certain level may reduce unit costs still further. In addition, discounts are usually available if you adopt methods of payment such as direct debit that are more convenient for the supply companies. There is also some incentive to choose a company who can supply both electricity and gas. Every company seeks to make its tariffs seem more attractive than those of its competitors -but the only figure that is important to you, the consumer, is the total you pay each year for your energy.
The government website www.energywatch.org.uk provides a code to be followed by price comparison websites.
These sites will supply you with estimates of costs from each supplier and compare those against your present outgoings. Make sure you don’t log onto a website created on behalf of one particular supplier. Once you have made the choice to switch to another supplier, it is often possible to make the transfer-on-online.
You can use the same comparison sites to check how easy it is to make a transfer to a potential supplier and find out what policies they have in relation to environmentally sensitive issues.
- To carry out meaningful comparison you will need to supply:
- your postcode
- your present suppliers of gas and electricity
- the type of meter (normal or economy 7)
- your annual consumption of each fuel or your present annual bill
- The unit used night (for economy 7 customers) expressed as either a number of units on a percentage of the total units.
Though most companies offer discounts for customers who take both gas and electricity from the same supplier, you may find that it is more economical to purchase each fuel separately. Try entering the same details for gas and electricity only and compare the results with a quote for a combined tariff. Within the constraints imposed by the government watchdog, energy suppliers are continually adjusting their prices, and it may be worth comparing costs at about the same time each year.
When you’re shopping for new appliances, look for the European community energy label that must by law be available at the point of sale, including websites on the Internet. This labelling gives guidance on energy efficiency for electrical equipment from lightbulbs to dishwashers, and the choice of an E rating can make considerable savings in energy costs.
Typical running costs
Apart from the standing charge, your electricity bill is based on the number of units of electricity you have consumed during a given period. Each unit represents the amount used in one hour by a 1 kW appliance. An appliance rated at 3kW will use the same amount of energy in 20 minutes.