Energy bills tipped to come down

Wholesale gas prices have been dropping steeply since the summer with the energy markets increasingly worried by the eurozone/recession worries. Which means, in theory, your energy bill could tumble by the best part of £140 in the next year. At least, according to predictions from Energyhelpline.com. But will your bill really get cheaper?


Falling wholesale prices

"A fall in electricity and gas bills could happen before the winter is out but we also need to strike a note of caution as in the past falls in wholesale prices have not meant similar percentage drops for residential ones," says Mark Todd from Energyhelpline.

If the energy companies don't pass on the savings, Todd urges consumers to switch anyway. There's now a £300 difference between those on the cheapest tariff and those on the most expensive he says. Both First Utility and Ovo are offering good fixed-price deals currently he says.

Switch

So I investigated and had a look at what Energyhelpline.com suggested for my property. After entering the details of current tariff and provider (Southern Electric, Better Plan Plus 2010 No Standing Charge for gas and electric), EnergyHelpline recommended I switch to First Utility's iSave v9 Dual Fuel option.

I would save approximately £50 a year, it said. The advantage of this particular tariff also means you can submit readings online. I rang First Utility to talk to them and find out a bit more. But it was at least 10 minutes before the sales team personally picked up the 'phone.

Keep it simple

Annoying (Southern are usually quick to pick up). Then, I was told that if First Utility did drop prices in the future, it would be up to me to ring up and switch to a cheaper tariff. I wouldn't be transferred to the cheaper rate automatically. This may be common practice in the energy market, but that was also annoying.

Personally I think Todd may be right and energy prices may dip slightly (just when we're not using so much gas as Spring draws nearer). But energy companies need to adopt a simpler, more transparent approach to the way they sell their services. Fewer tarriffs (Southern has at least 20, for example). Cheaper prices.

And if you do reduce the price of energy, pass it onto all your customers automatically. And if you can pick up the phone promptly when a prospective customer calls... It all helps.
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