What you should be careful of when changing your energy supplier?
If you want to save money on your energy invoice, the easiest and fastest way is by regularly changing your energy supplier. If you’re planning to do this yourself, we’d like to give you a few tips on what to be wary of. In that way, you can be sure you’ve made the right choice and can stop paying too much for your energy consumption.
Tip 1: Use an online comparison site.
Before changing your energy supplier, your best ploy is to use a price comparison site in order to get a quick overview of the available rates and special offers. These sites either have a profit motive or are strictly neutral (i.e. impartial). Commercial comparison sites agree terms, on your behalf, with the energy provider and receive a small sales commission per new customer (some Belgian examples are: www.tariefchecker.be , www.mijnenergie.be or www.test-aankoop.be). You have also the neutral comparison sites, such as those of the VREG (Flemish Regulator for Electricity and Gas), which are listed here.
Tip 2: Use your own energy consumption, not an average!
Always use your personal energy consumption when comparing suppliers. That figure can be found on your most recent year-end account statement or you can keep track of it yourself. Different consumption profiles, you see, give different results in the price rankings. Some energy tariffs are more favorable for large consumers while others are more favorable for small consumers. If you use an average figure for energy consumption, you may be picking the wrong tariff for your personal profile.
Tip 3: Know your current tariff and compare that against the available market prices.
When you compare energy prices online, you get a clear overview of the energy price ranking. This ranking shows what the cheapest and dearest energy tariffs are for your consumption at that specific moment.
If you want to know how much exactly you could save, it’s important to know what your present energy tariff is. Based on that, you yourself can calculate what you currently pay for your energy consumption. Only then can you be sure of how much you will save by changing your energy supplier.
Your present tariff can be found on the last bill from your energy provider or on the most recent year-end account statement.
Tip 4: Calculate the prices for gas and electricity, both separately and together.
Some suppliers offer a lower price if you buy both gas and electricity from them. Other suppliers don’t do that, quite the opposite in fact.
That’s why it’s important to compare gas and electricity, both together and on their own. Only then can you be sure that you’re making the right choice between the dozens of available energy tariffs and discounted offers.
Tip 5: Compare periodically so that you’re never paying too much!
Last but not least, it’s important to compare prices again, every so often. Energy providers revise their prices on a monthly basis. Special offers, in fact, change daily. So it’s best to compare prices several times a year, if you don’t want to miss a lower-priced energy deal.
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Other websites with useful information about changing your energy supplier:
- VREG (Flemish energy regulator) - only limited information in English
- Sibelga (Brussels energy regulator): when and how can I change energy supplier?
- CWAPE (Walloon energy regulator) - French only: change energy supplier