Energy Tariff Ending Brings Opportunities

by Guest Author on December 30, 2013

What you may view as merely a mundane task is a chance to breathe deeper meaning into a household chore. It all depends on your point of view, of course, but why not divine some of the divine out of banal routines? If you choose to make it so, your energy tariff ending could bring opportunities to shake up your world, freshen up your home and make a clean sweep, with some sweet cash energy savings to celebrate in the end.

Inspiration

Life is composed of endings and beginnings. Author C. JoyBell is quoted as having observed:

“Ends are not bad things, they just mean that something else is about to begin. And there are many things that don’t really end, anyway, they just begin again in a new way.“

As the term for your tariff comes to a close, think about your home. Consider the blessings brought to your family by those big, bulky appliances you so often take for granted: instant heat magically sourced at the touch of a button, live flames coaxed up from the burners by a simple twist of a knob and the shelf life of nourishing foods extended exponentially by the miracle of refrigeration.

It’s easy to walk right past these technological wonders of the modern age and not even notice them, but you can bet you’d miss these items in a heartbeat, were they suddenly removed from your home.

These are but inanimate objects; still, have you taken time to appreciate all that these gadgets do for you and your family? Research has repeatedly shown that levels of happiness are directly related to depths of gratefulness. Perhaps nurturing a sense of gratitude might help make it through periods when energy prices rise up. Being grateful for having service can help dissipate some of the sting in paying higher rates for services. While gratefulness won’t lower the prices by even a penny, the right attitude will help put things into perspective, and maybe even help keep blood pressure levels under control!

Appreciating Your Home

Since this whole process was started by the need to replace your gas and/or electricity plans, take a fresh look at your gas and electric uses. Has your washing machine lasted well beyond its warrantied years? Is the biggest problem you’ve had with your refrigerator the requirement to roll it away from the wall to sweep out dust bunnies? Has your oven helped you serve up meal after nourishing meal for your family?

Consider all these conveniences, and compare their contributions with what life was like back in the day for your great-grandmother (who, you’ll note, also had to get by with no internet!!). Suddenly, a new appreciation dawns.

Maintenance

As you’re being grateful for what you have, open your eyes to the realities of what requires attention. Maybe you’ve put up with your boiler for decades, despite all its noises and mishaps, because “it’s always been like that” and you’re familiar with its quirks by now. But, familiarity breeds contempt, as the old adage says. Just because you’re used to something working improperly doesn’t mean it has to go on working improperly. You are not loving your home if you allow a lack of maintenance to intrude upon your peaceful enjoyment of life or, worse, endanger your family. Besides, you could be losing hundreds of pounds in wasted energy through old klunker machines.

Take stock of your big ticket appliances. The “new dishwasher” that you “just got recently” may have been around for 18 months, now (we know; time flies). Give it a little love with a thorough descaling. Give each of your appliances a turn, assessing which ones need a little TLC maintenance, and which should be considered as a trade-in for more efficient models. Be appreciative of your home machines, but remember: they are, indeed, mechanical devices designed for the purpose of providing you household assistance. When they cease serving your family, their usefulness has come to an end…which brings you to another beginning, with the prospect of new replacement machines.

Home Sweet Home

Don’t worry about your energy tariff ending as it brings opportunities beyond shopping for replacement tariffs. It’s an end that can usher in a beginning of assessment, appreciation and care for the most basic goods and services upon which your family relies every day, and gives you the chance to create a cozier home for your loved ones.

Comparing fixed rate plans for the best electric and gas prices has become easier than ever thanks to online websites like uSwitch and Energy Helpline. You merely enter your postcode and tick the box that indicates whether you fit the profile of a low, medium or high-use household. Within seconds, you’re comparing tariffs and seeing the amount you could possibly be saving— and you get to do it all free of charge.

Simple Process

In fact, if you see a plan that seems to fit your needs, you click on a few links, follow the instructions and all the hassles of switching over to the new plan are taken care of in moments. Sounds delightful, right? If only it were that easy.

It’s definitely true that online websites make it easy for consumers to compare and switch. However, they merely get the process started. It can take weeks for the switchover to take place and you won’t be getting those sweet fixed rate deals until the energy provider sends you a confirmation letter in the mail. In fact, one company recommends waiting up to 90 days to alert them if you don’t get a notice of a start date. (In general, it probably won’t take this long.)

Small Print

One thing that can make the wait long is gas and electric companies want to be sure you haven’t cancelled on them before under the same plan. If you read the fine print, many energy providers will not allow you to re-register for the same plan twice. Once you set up under one plan, you must stay with it until it ends or be banished forever.

Energy suppliers also want to make sure you’re not pulling a fast one by trying to set up accounts with two different plans in effort to snag double discounts. Obviously, if you are with one provider and want to make a switch to a new one, you’ll have to stop service or provide notice that you are switching. If you’re already on a plan with your current provider and want to switch to a newer one, that’s not allowed either. You’ll have to wait until your current contract expires.

This is why it pays to take an extra hard look at long-term fixed rate deals while you’re checking online. If a new deal has you thinking the grass will be greener on the other side and then you switch (only to find that it isn’t), you won’t be able to get back to the deal you had. This can mean having to stay where you are to avoid cancellation fees (if any) or move on to another plan that’s not as quite as good and staying there until it’s time to get online and switch again.

Fixed Rates

There are a few companies that are starting to offer short-term fixed rate deals and this can be more attractive to those who feel claustrophobic about entering contracts. Many times, if you satisfactorily finish out the terms, an energy provider will allow you to re-enter the contract or enter its replacement if they decide to discontinue the one you were on. This can bring its own problems if the fixed rate is higher in the new contract— which is what can make locking yourself into a long-term plan more attractive.

Switching fixed rate plans online can also come with its own set of perks and discounts. Some gas and electric providers are offering to pay any cancellation fees for new customers who make the switch online. However, there can be a cap of £50 per utility. So, if your cancellation fees with your old provider are higher, you’ll have the remainder to deal with. In addition, consumers can sometimes receive discounts on the premium for fixed rate plans if they switch online and opt for paperless billing.

All in All

As you can see, there is a lot to consider. Switching gas and electric suppliers will probably never be easy; yet, using an online website can definitely help you clear a number of difficult hurdles. Rather than waiting until your contract ends to find a provider, energy experts advise spending time checking out fixed rate plans online on a regular basis. When it’s time, this will make deciding on a plan much easier and the transition a whole lot smoother. 

Laura Ginn appreciates that there are a number of different ways to save money on your home energy bill, from signing up to fixed rate offers to securing a deal with the lowest priced energy provider. Laura visited uSwitch.com and discovered she could save money on the cost of heating her home. 

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