Does any supplier treat existing customers fairly?

Brendan Burgess

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I am reviewing my gas and electricity for the first time.

Ideally I would like a supplier that has some sort of commitment to looking after existing customers rather than giving inducements to new customers and then fleecing them after the time period is up.

Any other tips for shopping around?

Does Bonkers cover all suppliers?
What about One Big Switch? ( I did sign up for them but had to ask them to stop bombarding me with emails)
Is it cheaper to go directly to the suppliers?
Is it better to get both gas and electricity from one supplier or from separate suppliers

Brendan
 

ClubMan

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43,880
Ideally I would like a supplier that has some sort of commitment to looking after existing customers rather than giving inducements to new customers and then fleecing them after the time period is up.
I don't think that any of them offer such a commitment.
There's a huge reliance on customer inertia to make money in these markets as far as I can see.
Does Bonkers cover all suppliers?
I am pretty sure that it does and it is generally kept up to date.
I'm a big fan of it for shopping for gas/electricity services.
I'm not so sure about their financial sections though - I don't think that they're as comprehensive, up to date, reliable.
What about One Big Switch? ( I did sign up for them but had to ask them to stop bombarding me with emails)
Let bonkers.ie check and compare them for you.
uswitch.ie is another comparison site but they seem to insist on some form of registration now and it won't even accept my phone number now. This wasn't required in the past so that's disappointing.
You can even switch/sign up for most offers through these sites without having to go off to the provider's website or calling them.
Is it cheaper to go directly to the suppliers?
You can always try getting additional discounts directly from suppliers - especially if you are an existing customer considering a switch to another supplier - but your mileage may vary. I did this with Bord Gais recently but after emailing and calling them and being promised a callback they never bothered to call me back and so I switched to a cheaper provider anyway.
Is it better to get both gas and electricity from one supplier or from separate suppliers
Not according to bonkers.ie.

Be wary of claims of "10% discount" or whatever - that's simply a discount from a provider's own standard UNIT rates, says nothing about their standing charges (which vary) and means nothing in terms of how they compare across the market.
I'd definitely recommend using bonkers to compare the market.
In fact I don't think that you need to do anything else other than decide if you want the (small?) hassle of taking gas and electricity from separate providers for higher savings and if you want to try negotiating even lower charges directly.
Make sure to review stuff like this (and any other regular bill) at least annually if not even more frequently. Some packages will not have an early termination penalty, some do (usually c. €50) and even those that do can be beaten even when the penalty is factored in.

When using the likes of bonkers.ie look at your old bills, work out your average annual usage in terms of gas/electricity units and then punch the details in and hit compare. E.g. get your bill for, say, July 2014 and check the meter reading at that date. Then get the bill for, say, July 2015 and check the meter reading. Subtract the former from the latter to get your annual usage. Obviously you can average over more years or a longer period of time if you want. Those with night and day electricity meters need to do this for both meters and also calculate what % of usage is night versus day. DON'T take your last bill and multiply by 6 or 12. That will skew the annual results (e.g. lower usage in Summer, higher in Winter).

In short - particularly with bonkers.ie, comparing the market and switching is easy and everybody should do it on a regular basis.

Hope this helps.

P.S. I have no affiliation with bonkers.ie other than as a satisfied customer.
 
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Brendan Burgess

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Thanks ClubMan

I had phoned 3 earlier to get details of my mobile usage. A real person answered the phone immediately, and was helpful and enthusiastic.

I had phoned Bord Gais earlier to get my gas usage. After a few choices, I got to speak to someone who was helpful, but made no attempt to retain my business.

I phoned Electric Ireland about 10 minutes ago to get my electricity usage and I still have the constricted feeling in my stomach from the frustration of their phone system. It sent me around in circles. I had to choose an option by saying "bill" and it could not understand me, and sent me back into the loop which insisted on telling me that my bill was paid and that there were loads of options for doing different things. I reached the "bill" point again and again it did not recognise me, so I decided there and then to switch from Electric Ireland.

So I just took your advice and, using Bonkers, I switched to Energia. Otherwise I would not make a decision.

Bonkers was extraordinarily easy. I don't think that they even asked me for a password.

Brendan
 
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Gerry Canning

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Customer inertia ,(once you have a customer)means that 50% of these customers will stay with their provider.

On electricity , once you drop out of initial contract you end up in what is called (default) costing.
On typical bill Default is .18 per unit used.(can normally be seen on back of bill)

Fixed for one year rates is nearer .15.

means you can (save 15-20% ) on your bills.

So if your electricity is 800 per annum you will save circa 150.

Beware of special offers , normally all they are are giving you the .15 you would get by shopping around....
 

ClubMan

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I phoned Electric Ireland about 10 minutes ago to get my electricity usage
Do you not have your old bills - either printed or online?
If you have then you don't need to call anybody - just take two, a year apart, and subtract the latest meter reading from the earlier meter reading.
Anyway - you've already gone ahead so this is moot...
Bonkers is brilliant for shopping for gas/electricity packages.
Maybe also for TV/phone/broadband - although I only glanced at that.
The financial sections are not so comprehensive or up to date in my experience.

Isn't One Big Switch simply a "tied agent" for Bord Gais?
Do they actually offer better value than going direct to BGE or via the likes of bonkers?
 

ClubMan

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Customer inertia ,(once you have a customer)means that 50% of these customers will stay with their provider.
I totally agree.
On electricity , once you drop out of initial contract you end up in what is called (default) costing.
On typical bill Default is .18 per unit used.(can normally be seen on back of bill)

Fixed for one year rates is nearer .15.
Are those indicative unit rates ex VAT or inc VAT?
I'm on a night/day meter setup and as far as I can see the best rates available are c. 16c per day unit and c. 8c per night unit (inc VAT).
I would imagine if the fixed unit rate is 15c then there is some catch - e.g. a much higher than normal standing charge or something like that?

Edit: oh - looks like day units on a night/day meter setup are higher than "normal" single meter setups where the unit rate can be as low as c. 15c. Apologies....
means you can (save 15-20% ) on your bills.
Not necessarily. You can't look at the unit rates in isolation.
You have to look at the standing charge as well.
(The PSO levy seems to be standard so does not vary across providers).
The standing charge will also be a significant chunk of the annual bill.
You have to factor in the standing charge and unit rates to compare.
Bonkers does a great job of doing and explaining this.
 

ClubMan

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Oh - the uswitch site that I was going to seems to have been the UK one (uswitch.ie seems to redirect to the UK site!).
That's why it would not take my details.
The Irish equivalent seems to be https://switcher.ie
I don't find it as easy to use as bonkers.
It also doesn't allow you to enter the percentage of night versus day usage for those on dual meters.
 

emeralds

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659
Thanks to this post I have just called UPC and got our current package half price for 6 months and the remaining 6 months back at full price. That's €240 saved over 12 months. Have been a long time customer of Electric Ireland but switched to Bord Gais today for electricity only - so 10% discount on unit prices for 12 months and a €75 Tesco gift card for switching before September 6th. They also give Tesco clubcard points with bill payments.
Going to call oil companies now and get oil while price is on the low side....
 

ClubMan

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Thanks to this post I have just called UPC and got our current package half price for 6 months and the remaining 6 months back at full price. That's €240 saved over 12 months. Have been a long time customer of Electric Ireland but switched to Bord Gais today for electricity only - so 10% discount on unit prices for 12 months and a €75 Tesco gift card for switching before September 6th. They also give Tesco clubcard points with bill payments.
Going to call oil companies now and get oil while price is on the low side....
Did you check bonkers for the best deal on electricity?
It may not be BGE.
10% discount is simply versus their standard rates - doesn't mean they are 10% cheaper than competitors.
And, as mentioned above, you also have look at the standing charges.
Bonkers does all this simply and quickly.
It may not be too late to double check with bonkers as I think you have a cooling off period to cancel a switch request (with no penalty?).
 

Gervan

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Re Bord Gais and Tesco points: you also get twice the value of your Tesco vouchers, if you use them to pay the BG bill. Bord Gais may not have the cheapest cost per unit, but it is cheaper for me to stay, because of the interaction.
(I sometimes get the feeling I am getting clubcard points even on the part of the bill that has been settled with vouchers, but I can't really believe that!)
 

Gerry Canning

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Clubman , I hear you so in answer.

1. Unit rates of .15 are achievable . Vat is added on any portion of bill so you can discount that.

2.PSO levy is a neat little stealth tax brought in on a finance act . ie all providers hit you.

3. Standing charges do not vary more than 10cent per day so even in a year might add e36.50 annually.

So the biggie is still unit charges , I think ?
 

demoivre

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Going to call oil companies now and get oil while price is on the low side....
Have a look at cheapestoil to get an idea. Have to say I'm a massive fan of www.bonkers.ie and I used them in June, effortlessly, to change to Energia for electricity. After my 12 months contract is up it's back to bonkers for me to see what's available. I was definitely guilty of not switching utility providers in the past because of laziness but no more!


Thanks to this post I have just called UPC and got our current package half price for 6 months and the remaining 6 months back at full price. That's €240 saved over 12 months.
Well done, that's €240 towards your oil bill !!
 

44brendan

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I am currently with ESB. was previously with Airtricity. However I don't know when I changed contract. Anyway of finding this out other than contacting ESB directly?
 

ClubMan

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3. Standing charges do not vary more than 10cent per day so even in a year might add e36.50 annually.

So the biggie is still unit charges , I think ?
OK - you could be right.
But my own standing charge is probably c. 20% of my total annual bill so not insignificant! :)
Anyway - as I keep saying bonkers does a great job of comparing deals on the market in my experience.
 

ClubMan

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I am currently with ESB. was previously with Airtricity. However I don't know when I changed contract. Anyway of finding this out other than contacting ESB directly?
Don't you have online access to your Airtricity and/or Electric Ireland bills which should indicate when you switched?
If this is for the purpose of entering details into bonkers then just choose the "don't know" option.
You can always check the results against your most recent actual bill.
Or is it to see if you are still within a contract period and maybe subject to an early breakage penalty if applicable?
 

ClubMan

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After my 12 months contract is up it's back to bonkers for me to see what's available.
Don't necessarily leave it 12 months.
Sometimes there's a cheaper offer available even after any contract breakage penalty fee is factored in.
I switched to BGE in April and assumed that I was in a 12 month contract - but they told me that I wasn't.
However even if I was I would have stood to save money by switching to a cheaper provider.
I'm an electricity tart myself :) and have switched many times since deregulation.
Ditto for all other household related services/bills.
 

ClubMan

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Re Bord Gais and Tesco points: you also get twice the value of your Tesco vouchers, if you use them to pay the BG bill. Bord Gais may not have the cheapest cost per unit, but it is cheaper for me to stay, because of the interaction.
(I sometimes get the feeling I am getting clubcard points even on the part of the bill that has been settled with vouchers, but I can't really believe that!)
Yeah, but you might save more if you shopped at Aldi/Lidl! :p
 
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