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How to shop around for your energy needs

In this guest blog, Chief Executive of energy regulator Ofgem, Dermot Nolan, explains the importance of shopping around for better energy tariffs as part of Big Energy Saving Week. 

We shop and compare prices for many things in life, yet we often don’t think about doing this when it comes to our energy bills. Comparing tariffs has been difficult in the past, and the process of changing your supplier too time consuming, but our reforms have changed things for the better.

Ofgem has created a simpler, clearer and fairer energy market which means finding a better deal has never been easier. And, since the introduction of the ‘Be an energy shopper’ campaign it has become even easier to get a better deal on your gas and electricity.

In an Ofgem survey, more than half (53 per cent) of people said they have been confused by energy tariffs, and a third (33 per cent) said their energy bills have been a concern. As part of the ‘Be An Energy Shopper’ campaign, we have created an easy guide, to help cut through the confusion previously associated with comparing energy tariffs, and in turn help people to start shopping around for their energy.

The website gives consumers the know-how to check existing energy deals so they can get a better tariff. The Be An Energy Shopper campaign was launched by Ofgem in response to consumer demand for impartial advice on how to compare tariffs in the gas and electricity markets.  Research commissioned by us revealed that people shop around for everything in life, from holidays and insurance to gadgets and clothes - yet they don’t place the same level of importance on shopping for their energy bills. Almost half of people admit they don’t prioritise ‘energy shopping’ to find the best deal, despite the fact that it could save them around £200 a year. We are giving consumers more choice.

Being a successful energy shopper is all about knowing what’s out there – and deciding what’s important to the consumer. It may be cost, renewable energy or customer service. Energy users can decide whether they want to stay on their current energy deal, switch to another tariff with their existing supplier or switch to a new energy supplier altogether.

The website includes new tools to help people compare the different tariffs, a  glossary explaining the language used on bills and links to other useful sites, including comparison services accredited to Ofgem’s Confidence Code. The website also includes a step-by-step guide that visitors can download and keep, or to give to friends and relatives without internet access. Since the introduction of the Be An Energy Shopper campaign it has never been easier to go energy shopping and get a better deal on your gas and electricity.  

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