Week 3 of the Money Makeover Challenge
How is your electricity bill looking lately?
I opened mine recently and could nearly have cried! It was over $1,000! We run a pretty ‘low power’ household really. No clothes dryer, no dishwasher, and only one small air conditioner in our bedroom that has been turned on perhaps 5 times this summer. The culprit – I do believe – is the pool. Now that is a whole other rant right there! But rather than start on a militant operation to identify all possible power saving options (don’t worry – that will come!), I headed straight to the source… the power company.
Deep breaths… trying not to flip out! ha!!!
My mission this week was to get a better deal on my electricity service.
Electricity bills can be somewhat daunting and hard to read, so to be honest I was a bit overwhelmed at the task at hand. But this turned out to be one of the quickest money saving weeks to date.
What you need to do:
1. Find your last two or more power bills
On your bills will be all the information you need to search out a better deal.
Everything you need will be on your bill. Looks overwhelming, but the comparison sites are simple to use.
2. Use a comparison site to find a better deal
If you do use a commercial switching site, be aware that they may have preferred retailers from whom they receive a commission, they do not always compare ALL offers, and they may have been provided different quotes by energy providers.
You might also come across One Big Switch – which uses bulk consumer buying power to offer discounted deals. They do often have competitive deals though be aware that One Big Switch does earn commissions from sign ups so still look at the unbiased Government sites.
3. Enter in the data in to the comparison site and have a look at the different options that pop up.
If you always pay your bills on time there are many plans which will give BIG pay on time discounts.. we are talking up to 30%.
4. Ring your current provider
If you are happy with your current provider, why not just try and fish for a better deal? Give your current provider a call – armed with a few deals from the comparison site that beat your current arrangement and see if they will match or better them. This is a very quick and easy way of often saving money with minimal fuss.
5. Consider switching
If your current provider won’t come to the party, then it might be time to switch. You can read a nice little summary here about how to change offers.
SUMMING IT UP!
For us, this one took a little research and two phone calls to our current provider. In the end, we negotiated a 30% pay on time discount for the next 12 months with usage rates marginally higher than we currently pay and no lock in contract. The 30% discount was greater than any deal I had seen on the comparison site. I was pretty happy with this result, and it certainly was the low hassle option of not switching providers.
How long did it take me?
I spent an hour or so looking at the comparison site and understanding different plans (partly to arm myself for this article!), 30 minutes on phone calls, and 10 minutes setting up the direct debit payments (so we definitely pay on time!).
The pain factor was far less than I anticipated. Once I got my head around the bill, and how the different plans work it was only a matter of a few phone calls.
Not much time?
Cold call your current provider and see if they can offer you a better deal. The pay on time discount is a good one to offer up. If they offer a discount – say 15%, mention that you know of many who have received a 30% discount. Push back a little!
- Take some time to understand your situation. Do you have a smart meter (that provide a breakdown of peak and off peak usage) or a flat tariff meter? When is your power usage? And understand your bill – the comparison sites provide some guidance with this.
- If you opt for a plan with a pay on time discount, set up the direct debit payment of the bill at the same time as negotiating the deal with the provider. Just so you don’t get caught out. And mark in your diary when the offer period expires so you can be on the front foot for negotiating when it ends.
- We don’t have gas – apart from one gas bottle delivered each year for our heating – but do consider including your gas service along with the search. Some companies provide even greater savings for providing you with both services.
Total money saved?
Based on the comparison site, we are looking at an annual savings of at least $500, by including this pay on time discount with our current provider. Wow – that is nice return for under 2 hours work.
Get on to it people!!!
Three weeks of bill busting and our total savings is at $1,266. Already completely exceeding my expectations (and I’m feeling a little cranky at myself for not getting on to all of this sooner!).
I’d love you to share below if you have an electricity win, or some handy tips for saving on your power bills!
Join the conversation – here or on the Facebook Page.
Here’s to living your rich life! xo