Earlier this month business secretary Greg Clark hit the headlines when he said he’d never switched energy suppliers because he thought it was a ‘hassle’.
In spite of Conservative plans to introduce an energy price cap if they are re-elected, that’s hardly the message you’d expect to be hearing from the minister with responsibility for energy.
Surely he must know how to ‘work the system’ and shop around and get the best deal? And, if he wants to tackle the nation’s energy bills shouldn’t he be able to demonstrate that he is in control of his own?
After my experiences this week, all I can conclude is that he must have very deep pockets.
Switching energy suppliers has been on my to-do list for a few weeks. I knew the deal we had arranged a year or so ago was coming to an end and that our prices would rise if I didn’t take action.
Now I’m usually quite on the ball when it comes to energy bills. However, I’ll confess that with work, kids, never ending piles of washing and housework, it kept slipping off my radar. It was only when I got a letter earlier this week from my energy supplier informing me that our bill was going to rise from £73 a month to £155 that I was spurred into action.
I made a cup of tea, got the laptop out and set about switching with an energy price comparison service. In the name of research, I noted the time on the screen as I logged on and literally nine minutes later the job was done. That even included calling my husband down and discussing the options with him before proceeding.
In less than 10 minutes I’d bought our forecasted costs for the coming year on a standard tariff from £1700 to just over £900. The process was easy too. All I needed to do was enter a few details – name, address and so on along with details of our energy usage, which were easily found in the letter from our current supplier. The comparison service then came up with a list of options and we made our choice. The switching process will now be completed by our new supplier.
Now while it was still a chore that needed doing, with such a substantial saving, I would be hard pushed to call it a hassle.
If you’re reasonably internet-savvy you really can switch and save online in minutes. Or if you would rather talk the process through with an adviser, many of the comparison services also offer a telephone service.
According to Ofgem two-thirds of households are paying suppliers’ expensive standard tariffs. I know that will include some vulnerable groups that need help to access the best deals, but my hunch is the majority, like Greg Clark, just think it’s a hassle. How wrong they are.