HOME management and price comparison site Hoppy is offering new and existing customers a £50 Amazon voucher if you switch energy providers through its site.
That means you could save money on your bills and get a little extra – but is that the best you can get?
The price cap for gas and electric bills was lowered from £1,254 to £1,179 by Ofgem on October 1, saving families on default tariffs £75 a year.
But the best deals on the market are already around £950 – some £300 less than the current cap.
So, it is definitely worth comparing prices and seeing if you could save by switching.
But, it’s important to make sure that you don’t get distracted by perks and freebies and end up signing up for a bad deal.
And, if you do find a great deal, it’s also worth checking that you aren’t missing out on extra perks by switching through the wrong provider.
How to find a cheaper deal
YOU won’t know if you’re on the cheapest energy deal until you see what else is on offer.
Comparing prices is the only way to make sure you’re getting the best value for money and it could just save you hundreds of pounds a year.
Here’s how you do it:
- Before you start comparing, you’ll need your latest bill to hand. This will include all the important details you’ll need to shop around, including the name of your provider and how much you’re paying.
- Customers can use websites such as uSwitch.com or Energyhelpline.com to compare tariffs and find a cheaper deal.
- Here you’ll need to fill our your personal details so the websites can start comparing prices.
- If you find a better deal, be sure to tell your current provider all about it.
- Haggling doesn’t cost a penny and while no means a sure fire way to get them to lower their prices, it has proved successful in securing a better deal for households.
- If they can match or beat the price you found online, then you’ve managed to save yourself some money.
- If not, then you can switch to the cheaper deal you found elsewhere.
- You can also sign up to MoneySavingExpert’s Cheap Energy Club for free alerts on when cheaper deals become available.
Home management site Hoppy is offering new and existing customers a £50 Amazon voucher when they switch providers through the site.
The company allows you to compare prices on utilities, insurance, mortgage and mobile deals.
You can also source local tradespeople for home maintenance jobs and manage your household using the site's calendar and document tools.
Other comparison sites are also currently offering incentives to encourage you to switch providers through them.
For example, Comparethemarket.com offer customers one year of two-for-one cinema tickets and restaurant meals at selected providers.
Though the offer has no monetary value, it could save you quite a bit throughout the year.
And, money advice site Moneysavingexpert.com has a Cheap Energy Club which tracks the best deals for you and offers customers £25 cashback when they switch.
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But, don’t get tempted to switch with any one provider just because of a special reward.
Price comparison sites and their partners sometimes do not have access to all the tariffs a supplier has to offer.
That’s why it is a good idea to check your energy prices on more than one comparison site to make sure you’re switching to the best possible deal.
Hoppy, for example, does compare all UK suppliers including EDF, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power, OVO Energy, British Gas and SSE.
But, it does not have access to every tariff that these companies have to offer, as some are supplied exclusively to other providers.
So, if Hoppy does have the best deal for you, the £50 Amazon voucher is a welcome perk.
But, if you take the voucher instead of taking a better deal elsewhere, you could end up out of pocket.
What are cashback sites?
CASHBACK sites are websites that pay you when you go through them to spend money with selected retailers and providers.
You usually receive back either a percentage of the amount you spent or a maximum refund per purchase.
The money you receive back can take anything from a few days to several months to appear in your account.
The money you're promised is not always guaranteed, you can be refused your cashback if you break the T&Cs or if the company goes bust.
Cash backs are usually free but some, such as TopCashback, have both free and paid memberships with different offers.
Cashback websites are companies which pay you when you go through them to spend money with certain retailers or providers.
To get cashback, you must sign up for an account and access the company you want to shop through using the link on the cashback site.
You can get cashback on these sites both through using certain switching services and by accessing energy companies directly.
For example, Quidco offer up to £25 cashback if you switch energy providers through uSwitch.
They also have exclusive cashback deals worth £100 to £125 with Scottish Power and SSE Energy.
The amount of cashback you get with the energy companies listed on their site varies depending on what tariff you purchase.
You can even get up to £40 cashback for switching energy providers through Hoppy.
Similarly, TopCashback offers up to £150 cashback for switching to British Gas, and up to £26 for switching through MoneySuperMarket.
But, many cashback offers are only available to new customers and come with a strict set of conditions.
And, some sites take over six months to pay cashback for a purchase, and there’s no guarantee that your claim will be successful.
Smaller energy providers also may not be listed on cashback sites, meaning you could miss out on deals from lots of great companies.
Is it safe to switch to a small energy supplier?
FED-UP with sky high energy prices and poor customer service from the Big Six energy firms? Then you could save a packet by switching to a smaller firm.
Recent research from Which? found customers with smaller and medium sized firms, such as Utility Warehouse, Flow Energy and Octopus Energy are much happier than those with the major firms.
The biggest risk of choosing a small provider is that it goes bust.
But remember that if the firm does go under you won't be cut off, and Ofgem will try and get a new supplier in place as quickly as it can.
Once it has done this, the new firm will contact you. It doesn't have to honour the deal you were on with the defunct firm – but under Ofgem rules any credit you have on your account is protected.
If you're unhappy with the new supplier's offer you are free to shop around for a new deal and switch – you won't have to pay any exit fees to leave.
Can an energy firm offer you more?
Some energy companies offer deals if you sign up for a tariff directly on the website.
For example, British Gas offer 50 per cent off Hive and a free Amazon Echo if you sign up for certain tariffs through its site.
And, Npower offer a free Take Time membership worth £60 when you switch.
One of the best ways to save money from an individual provider is to take advantage of their referral schemes.
21 suppliers offer referral incentives, from vouchers to credit, according to comparison site Energyhelpline.
Ovo will give you and your friend a £75 M&S, John Lewis or Amazon gift card if you refer them.
And, suppliers such as Bulb, Octopus Energy, Good Energy, Scottish Power, iSupplyEnergy and M&S Energy offer a £50 referral bonus to you and whoever you recommend.
If a friend’s current supplier is with a company you’d like to switch to, taking advantage of these referral benefits could be worth your while.
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