When new customers come to us who are considering an alternative heating solution, one of the main points of interest is price. The amount of money people spend on the energy bills has become a contentious issue, and as winter is fast approaching it's once again becoming a hot topic among home owners up and down the country. We're confident that our products, if used correctly, can help people cut down on their energy usage, but whether this leads to loosening the burden on their wallet is up to them...and their chosen energy company. Do you use price comparison websites? If so it might be time for a rethink according to certain sources...
The Big Deal is a website is devoted to helping people find the cheapest energy deals. This week it claimed that the five leading 'comparison sites' were behaving 'unethically' and questioned their usefulness when it comes to finding people the best deal. The five websites are uSwitch, Compare the Market, MoneySuperMarket, Go Compare and Confused.com, and they all recieved a letter of complaint from The Big Deal questioning their services. On its own, this may not seem to damning, but Ofgem have also commented that they have been considering updating their code of conduct to give more protection to homeowners.
So what, allegedly, are price comparison sites doing wrong?
It's been claimed that price comparison sites are only showing results in customer searches that earn them commission. For example, you could search on a price comparison site for deals in your area, and if the cheapest deals weren't deals that offered them commission they'd be filtered out, leaving customers with hald the picutre. In short, you might actually be better off doing the homework on your own and looking at local providers.
Other non-commission offers are available on many of these sites, but are often buried and hidden behind obscure question-answer responses. The Big Deal (and to an extent, Ofgem) think that it's difficult for customers to get the best deal on price comparison websites.
So how do I find the best energy deal?
Really it's just a case of looking independently - it's not as difficult as people think. Many energy providers might be be based in your area or often certain deals in your neighbourhood. While the 'Big Six' energy companies might offer some good deals, it's important to note that they aren't the only options. There are smaller, independent suppliers that can offer incredible deals, particularly if you call them up to discuss your needs and find the best tariff.
What are Ofgem going to do to make this easier?
Ofgem's plans are to make it so that price comparison websites have an obligation to display all results, whether they earn a commission or not. This could make it difficult for price comparison sites to make money, but it's reassuring to see Ofgem taking a stand on behalf of consumers. For the past year Ofgem have been talking about making customers' relationship with energy companies better. Some of their ideas include making bills easier to understand, forcing energy companies to illustrate clearly which is their cheapest tariff, and of course the Government is rolling out smart meters in 2015 to give us all more control over our energy usage. Soon, the picture will look a lot clearer for energy users everywhere.
While this is pretty serious news, it is still only speculation at this point. What do you think of price comparison websites? Have you had a good experience and found a good deal? Have you found them useful? If so we'd like to hear from you. Our customers are constantly asking about how our energy efficient heating products can help them save money, and while we can help them cut down on their energy usage, we can't guarantee a financial saving; it completely depends on which energy provider they're with. We'll continue to provide help and support to all of our customers (or even if you're just interest in talking about energy saving electric heating solutions - give us a call!) to see how we can help you get the most out of your home heating without ramping up bills. We think energy efficient electric radiators and infrared heating panels are a fantastic place to start, but when it comes to the cost of your energy, do your research and take price comparison websites with a pinch of salt - for now.
Eco Stores Direct are here to bring you the very latest in energy news, views and opinions from across the UK. They are also suppliers of energy efficient electric heating solutions and are constantly assessing the market for the best products and the latest ground-breaking technology which they think will make a real difference to their customer's homes. Eco Stores Direct are devoted to helping you reduce your carbon footprint and bring down your energy bills and they work hard to raise awareness of energy efficient products that can make all the difference. For more information on their range of chrome towel rails, infrared heating panels or energy efficient electric radiators, call one of their friendly team today on 0330 300 4444 for a free assessment.