Help & Frequently Asked Questions
HOW TO REGISTER AND COMPARE DEALS
How does the comparison calculator work?
The calculator estimates your current energy usage based on your annual kilowatt hour (kWh) usage, your bill amount or the low/medium/high user data you entered.
It takes (or calculates) your current kWh usage by comparing the data you supply to the unit costs of your current tariff. Next, this is multiplied against the kWh unit costs of other tariffs provided by other suppliers in your area.
Any additional savings offered by the supplier based on payment types are also taken into account. The estimated annual savings figure is calculated by subtracting the costs of other tariffs from your current costs.
How do I register?
- Go to the Cheap Energy Club home page and click the orange ‘join now, it’s 100% free’ button.
- Enter your postcode, select your address.
- Enter your current gas & electricity supplier, tariff name, usage, etc.
- Enter your name, surname and email address and make up a password.
- Tick the T&Cs box.
- Click ‘Let us do our stuff’.
After registering, you’ll receive a welcome email so you’ll know your registration was successful. (Check your spam/junk folder.)
Once you’re registered, you can log back into your account at any time – just use the login button in the top right hand corner.
How do I find my existing supplier?
If you have a recent bill or letter, your old supplier's name will be at the top. If you don't have a letter or bill, contact the meter number helpline on 0870 608 1524 to find your gas supplier.
To find your electricity supplier, you'll need to contact the electricity distribution company for your region:
|Scotland North||0870 900 9690|
|Scotland South||0845 270 9101|
|North East England||0845 601 3268|
|North West England||0870 751 0093|
|Eastern England||0870 196 3082|
|Southern England||0870 905 0806|
|South West England||0845 601 2989|
|South East England||0845 601 5467|
|London||0845 601 5467|
|Yorkshire||0845 330 0889|
|Merseyside and North Wales||0845 270 9101|
|South Wales||01752 502 299|
|West Midlands||01384 343 838|
|East Midlands||0845 603 0618|
I can't find my tariff, help!
The energy market is awash with similar-sounding tariff names, so it's no surprise it's so hard to work out which deal you're on. First, have a look at your bill - it should be clearly marked. If you're having trouble finding it, try our Energy Bills Explained tool which explains where to look.
If you're still unsure, ring your supplier and ask - it should be able to tell you exactly which version of a deal you're on.
Do we make money from this?
Suppliers pay £60/dual fuel switch (£30 single fuel) to comparisons & collective schemes; we give £30 to you as cashback (£15 single fuel). Much of the rest pays our data & switch suppliers, leaving us with hopefully £11ish per dual fuel switch. That pays the team who work on this, and hopefully leaves some profit. As always, we only ever write based on our legally binding editorial independence.
Or, do you have an Economy 7 meter?
This a separate question on the registration form, to which you can answer yes or no. Economy 7 doesn’t appear in the dropdown list of tariff names, as Economy 7 is a meter type rather than a tariff. Once you have the exact name, please try to register again.
I pay by credit/debit card every month/quarter - what do I pick?
Pick the cash/cheque option in the dropdown list.
Does it cost more to switch via Cheap Energy Club?
Absolutely not. The tariffs you see in the results are the same as the tariffs and prices you'd pay if you went direct to the supplier. While we often get paid when users switch via us, this cash comes from suppliers' marketing budgets - there's no difference in the price you'd get via us and the price you'd get direct. In fact, we'll even pay you cashback when you switch via us.
Do you include discounts in the comparisons?
Recurring discounts and those paid automatically, such as direct debit discounts, are included in the calculations. One-off discounts, incentives paid after 12 months and discounts which rely on you doing something (including giving meter readings) aren't included in the comparison.
What's the Warm Home Discount?
Who's eligible? The core group it helps are those who get Pension Credit, but this winter households with a prepay electricity meter will be able to apply too. You're eligible if any of the following applied on 12 July 2014:
- You're 75 or over and get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (and you get Savings Credit).
- You have a prepay electricity meter.
- Your name, or your partner's name, was on your electricity bill.
There's also a broader group that energy suppliers consider for the rebate, but this varies from supplier to supplier.
If you’re in the core group, you’ll get the rebate automatically, but if you meet a supplier’s broader eligibility criteria, you will need to apply directly to the supplier.
How will I get the cash? The money isn't paid to you, it's a one-off discount on your electricity bill, usually between October and March.
The suppliers participating in the scheme. The electricity suppliers involved in this scheme are: Atlantic, British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Equipower (Ebico), Equigas (Ebico), First Utility, Manweb (Scottish Power), M&S Energy, npower, Sainsbury's Energy, Scottish Gas (British Gas), Scottish Hydro, ScottishPower, Southern Electric, SSE, SWALEC, Utility Warehouse.
I get the Warm Home Discount, is that factored in?
The Warm Home Discount requires the big suppliers, by law, to help vulnerable customers in England, Wales and Scotland, pay for energy.
We don’t factor in the £140 discount into the costs or savings shown on the site, but our results do show which suppliers offer the Warm Home Discount.
When I ran the comparison, it said I'd save but I pay more, why?
While it sounds strange, you may save money, even if your bills go up! In a period of regular price rises, switching often doesn't mean you actually pay less. If you're saving 10% when all energy prices are increased by 20%, you'll still pay more than you were, but you'll be paying less than if you hadn't switched.
The other complication is the way energy firms set direct debit levels - often direct debit amounts aren't linked to the amount of energy you use. When you move to a new supplier, it has little usage history for you. So sometimes, it sets the direct debit amount over and above what you're using, to make sure it’s covering itself.
Don't use the direct debit amount as an indicator of what you're saving - it could be higher than before, or your old firm may have set your direct debit too low (if you had to pay a lump sum when you switched away, then that'll be the case).
Do you send alerts by SMS?
We're no longer sending out alerts by SMS. We found most of you preferred to get our alerts by email, so we've decided to switch off this functionality. If you previously provided your mobile number, this has now been removed from your account and erased from our records.
Do you compare business energy?
Cheap Energy Club is only for consumers. If you're on a business tariff, read our Small Biz guide for help on finding a cheaper deal.
ALL ABOUT SWITCHING
How does energy switching work?
Don't worry too much about switching. Only customer service, billing and, most importantly, prices change. The pipes, circuits, wires, safety coverage and actual gas and electricity flowing through your home are all the same.
The new supplier performs the switch, and all you do is take a meter reading. Of course, there've been many switching horror stories and sadly, these still happen. But for most, it's a smooth process.
We'll email you every step of the way so you know what's happening. You'll get an email when you've applied for a switch, and an email when that switch has been accepted by the supplier (in a small number of cases, the supplier can reject you).
How long does it take to switch energy supplier?
Energy suppliers have a cooling-off period of 14 days, which starts from the date you submit your switch, so no action is taken until this period is over. The switch process can take up to 4- 6 weeks to complete, depending on the supplier, although some will now switch you more quickly.
But don't worry, you won't lose your supply during this time. It should be a seamless handover from one provider to the other. All that's really changing is the billing, not the actual gas and electricity that you're being supplied.
Energy suppliers are supposed to keep you updated on your switch (via letter/telephone/email - please keep an eye on your junk/spam folder). If you ever have any queries about your switch, you can always contact your energy supplier for an update.
How often can I switch energy supplier?
You can switch as many times as you like, though bear in mind the time it takes for the switch to complete can vary by supplier.
Can I time a switch to take place after my contract ends?
Sadly, you can't do this at the moment. Tariffs change very quickly, so what's the best deal for you now might not be the best deal later on. Of course, when your tariff changes, it will hopefully trigger a savings email.
My fix is ending, if I switch now will I be charged the early exit fee?
Energy suppliers are banned from charging exit fees when you have less than 49 days to go till the end of your tariff. These are rules set down by the energy regulator, Ofgem so suppliers do have to stick to them. So stay within these timeframes and you shouldn’t be charged.
What is my personal projection and why is it so high?
Following changes introduced by Ofgem, the energy regulator, our calculations have to factor in the tariff costs for the remainder of the fixed tariff, as well as the standard tariff which energy suppliers move its customers on to when the fix ends. This means if you have two months of your fixed rate tariff remaining, your calculation is based on two months at the fixed tariff rate, and then 10 months at the standard tariff rate. We don't think this is a good policy at all.
At the time that this ruling was introduced we raised our concerns and have continued to pass on feedback from our users to Ofgem. Hopefully this will lead to a review of how 12 month personal projections should be shown.
We're also working on providing details of your fixed cost and go-to costs separately on the results page, as we think it's a much clearer way of displaying your comparison. If you're happy with your current tariff, you might prefer to wait for our 'Your Fixed Deal is Ending' alert, which we send to our users a few weeks before a fixed tariff expires.
In the meantime, you can still compare your annual/monthly costs from your bill against the tariff costs of the quoted tariffs on your results page.
I've changed my mind, how do I cancel my switch?
If you change your mind after requesting the switch, you'll have a cooling-off period of 14 days in which to stop it going through.
You'll need to contact the supplier you're switching to directly to do this (contact details are at the bottom of this page). It can take upto 2 days for your new supplier to add your details to its systems, so wait this long before contacting it.
Do I need to contact my old supplier?
You shouldn’t need to contact your existing supplier, your new supplier should do this for you.
Your new supplier will ask you for opening meter readings - make sure that these are accurate, as they will be sent to your old supplier to calculate your final bill.
Should I cancel my direct debit?
Don’t cancel your old direct debit straight after going through the switching application. You need to wait until after your last meter reading has been taken and you have been confirmed as ‘on supply’ with your new supplier.
How do I arrange a direct debit with my new supplier?
The new supplier should get your details when you switch and should set it up for you. If not, you'll get details in the post on how to do it.
Can I switch from prepayment to credit?
We can't do this for you as it involves changing the meter, so only your current supplier can help. Read the full Cheap Prepay Energy guide on how to get your meter switched for free.
I've called the supplier and it knows nothing about the switch?
This doesn't mean your switch isn't in progress. We're finding more and more that suppliers' call centres don't have up-to-date information about switches (or they say they don't).
So if you've called the new supplier and it doesn't know about the switch, don't worry about it. Wait a few days, and you should receive confirmation of the switch in the post. Don't switch over the phone directly with the supplier - if you do, you'll miss out on any cashback you were eligible for.
I'm supplied by an Independent Gas Transporter, can I still switch?
Yes, you can still switch, though some smaller suppliers may not take you on.
Previously you had to pay £30-£70 more on top of any comparison quote as the gas provider must pay both National Grid and the IGT to supply gas to your house. This charge was passed directly on to you. Now, only Npower charges - its £10 per year per customer, for both prepaid and credit customers.
Independent gas transporters (IGTs) are often used by constructors instead of National Grid in new-build properties as they charge less to fit pipes. One in 20 people are supplied by them instead of National Grid.
I live in Northern Ireland, why can't I switch?
We can't currently do comparisons for Northern Ireland as the data isn't easily available. We're working hard to sort out a solution, but in the meantime have a look at the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland for tips on switching.
My existing supplier has offered me a cheaper deal. Should I stick with it?
As soon as your old energy supplier knows you want to switch away, it’ll launch an attack to retain your custom. It could offer you all sorts to encourage you to stay, but don't be seduced, as it's unlikely the deal it offers will beat what came top of the comparisons.
If you're unsure, check the comparison again and see how far down the list its tariff appears.
My application to switch is still outstanding, what do I do?
Check your account profile to see the status of your switch. It’ll say it’s either accepted, rejected or still in progress.
Usually your new supplier makes contact within 4-6 weeks. If it takes longer than 6-8 weeks, there may be a problem.
MoneySupermarket sends switch applications to the energy suppliers, so you’ll need to contact your chosen supplier if there are any issues. We’re only told about rejected or accepted switches after they have happened, so we can then issue any due.
When you contact your supplier, if you decide to make a switch directly to it, make sure you update Cheap Energy Club so we can revise the status of your old switch application. Remember if you don’t register your switch through CEC, your cashback will no longer be issued.
I'm in debt with my supplier - can I still switch?
If you’re on a key/card meter, you must be allowed to switch, provided your debt is below £500. If you're on a standard credit meter and are in debt, you'll need to speak to your supplier. There are no hard and fast rules for credit meter customers, though your supplier should be reasonable. If you arrange a debt repayment plan, it may let you switch.
Why do you pay cashback?
Basically, it’s a sweetener for switching tariff! If you can switch through Cheap Energy Club, which you can with many tariffs - though not all - then MoneySavingExpert.com gets a referral fee.
To encourage switching, we give £30 of this fee to you for dual fuel switches (£15 for single fuel). You don't usually get this if you go direct to a comparison site, nor if you switch directly with an energy company.
We don't put the tariffs that pay us at the top. Our comparison remains based solely on your results.
When will I get my cashback?
If you went through a comparison or provider which promises cashback when you switch – including our Cheap Energy Club – it usually takes between 3 to 5 months to hit your bank account, depending on how quick the supplier is at processing your application.
The cashback will appear as "EnergyClubCashbk" on your bank statement. (Any manual bill payers should note that the cashback will be paid by cheque).
I haven't received my cashback - what should I do?
If you move to a supplier that we can switch you to, £15 cashback is paid for a single fuel switch, £30 if you switch both fuels. Cashback is paid into your bank account around three months after switching. It will appear as "EnergyClubCashbk".
If you've not received your cashback and it's been at least three months since you switched, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll chase it for you.
Sometimes there are special deals where you can get even more cashback. Usually with these deals, the supplier sends you the extra cashback and you'll still get the £30 from us.
What cashback options are there?
Our comparison calculator will bring up some results for tariffs which don’t offer cashback. If you choose one of these, we can’t monitor the process. But when the switch has happened, log back into your CEC account, update your details and we’ll keep watching prices for you.
Then there are £30 cashback tariffs. These come from MoneySupermarket and will appear on your bank statement as ‘EnergyClubCashbk. They can take up to 12 weeks from switching to be paid straight into your account.
The third option is cashback over £30. Here, the £30 is from MoneySupermarket, but the extra amount on top comes from the energy supplier. This extra sum can sometimes appear in your back account separately.
ENERGY PROVIDERS & TARIFFS
I fixed a few days ago. Now that tariff isn’t available. Will I still get it?
If you signed up for the tariff, you should get it. Around 10% of people are rejected, either due to credit issues or if you entered incorrect info by mistake. If it was due to incorrect info, some suppliers will ring you and sort the issue out – other suppliers aren't so good at this.
If you're rejected, you'll have to switch again and if that fixed deal has gone, you'll have to get the new best.
Can anything go wrong with a switch?
As mentioned above, around 10% of people are rejected due to credit issues or problems with the application info. From time to time, comparison sites have issues sending your switching information to suppliers. This is rare, but can happen. If this happens, you'll usually have to switch again and if fixes have been pulled in the meantime, you'll have missed out on them.
When will I start paying the new prices for my fixed tariff?
It takes about six to eight weeks for your supply to go live, it can be longer in some cases. This is one reason why you should look at getting a fixed tariff urgently.
I've not heard from my provider about my new fixed tariff, is something wrong?
It may take a couple of weeks to get your welcome pack from the provider. This is taking even longer than usual at the moment due to the high volume of switches. To make matters even worse, you've been telling us that when you ring the new supplier, it's telling you it knows nothing about the switch.
This is totally incorrect and either a tactic to get you to switch directly (which means no cashback for you and is cheaper for the energy supplier) or the customer service team hasn't been told what's going on. Give it a few weeks then get in touch with the supplier you've switched to.
I had a terrible experience with 'Energy Supplier XYZ', why do you include it?
We think it would be remiss of us not to tell you about the cheapest tariffs and few companies have flawless feedback histories. However, if a supplier has had a disproportionate amount of feedback, we'll let you know. And please use our feedback threads in the results table so others can read about your experiences - good or bad.
What is Economy 7? Can I save?
An Economy 7 tariff means you pay different rates depending on what time of day you use it. It's also known as a "white meter" tariff. You can still save, as Economy 7 users can compare in exactly the same way as everyone else.
These tariffs are only worth really worth considering if you have storage heaters, water tanks, work shifts or are able to use appliances on timers.
How do I find my Economy 7 usage?
If you have an Economy 7 tariff, to find your cheapest tariff you'll need to enter the amount of energy you use at different times. If you don't know, check your most recent bill or call your provider to ask.
I have an Economy 9 or Economy 10 meter - can I compare?
Those with Economy 9 or Economy 10 meters aren't well catered for, as suppliers don't make it easy to get the right information. You can't currently compare on any comparison site. Instead, you'll need to ring round suppliers to get quotes.
These tariffs are only worth really worth considering if you have storage heaters, water tanks, work shifts or are able to use appliances on timers.
Essentials, Warm Assist, Spreading Warmth, Fresh Start and Energy Assist
Some tariffs aren't included on any comparisons. These social tariffs include British Gas's Essentials plan, E.on's Warm Assist, Npower's Spreading Warmth, Scottish Power's Fresh Start and EDF's Energy Assist.
To get a rough idea of what you can save, pick your provider's standard tariff and enter your usage in kilowatt hours. Ignore the savings in the results table. Instead, compare the estimated new costs with what you currently pay. Social tariffs are now being phased out and aren't open to new customers. They've been replaced by the Warm Home Discount.
Is Utility Warehouse any good?
This is a commonly-asked question. Unlike most energy companies and resellers, Utility Warehouse operates by network marketing, which means its customers are encouraged to sell on the product to their friends and they get commission for it.
This tends to mean it does well on feedback charts, as customers have a vested interest, and many of them are evangelical about the firm. That in itself doesn't make the product bad, but in our view it's no better or worse than any other energy provider.
The main pitch of Utility Warehouse is that you can also get cheap mobile, broadband and home phones with it and that reduces the fee. In general, we find using the cheapest individual providers undercuts this, so always compare with those before signing up to it. See the Cheap Home Phones, Cheap Broadband and Cheap Mobiles guides for more.
I use heating oil - how can I save?
Heating oil users don't have it easy. With neither a regulator nor a glut of independent price comparison websites to help, it's hard to save on ever-increasing heating oil bills. We don't yet include heating oil in Cheap Energy Club, but there are a few steps you can take to keep a lid on energy bills. Here are some brief pointers and links to help:
Haggle. Use the information from the comparison sites to ring round your local suppliers and haggle.
Don't buy in winter. Oil prices rocket when demand is high.
Try to plan ahead so you buy your fuel during summer when prices are likely to be lower.
Consider joining an oil-buying group. With the right numbers, bulk-buying heating oil as a village can give you leeway to negotiate better deals with suppliers. Citizens Advice has a handy tool to help find a group near you.
Where can I find or submit energy supplier feedback?
We do have warnings on the saving results page. We also provide feedback links to our forum for every company listed, so you can get information about customer service as well as prices. Register on our forum http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/register.php so you can post whenever you have a positive or negative experience.
Most energy providers are represented in the forum, so if you’d like to take a look or make a post about one supplier in particular, you can find the threads in the contact section below.
How do I delete my Cheap Energy Club account?
Why would you want to do that?! Let us know if there's an issue by emailing email@example.com. But to delete your account, simply log in and click the ' Leave Energy Club' button at the bottom of the page.
Please note: if you delete your account, it doesn’t cancel any switches currently in process. If you would like to cancel your switch with your energy provider, you’ll need to contact the provider as it won’t let us cancel for you. See the list of energy providers contact details below.
I seem to have forgotten my password, is there any way to reset this?
We all forget our passwords from time to time, so don’t worry! Firstly, on the Cheap Energy Club homepage, you can ask for a password reset. Just click ‘Forgotten Your Details?’, which is directly under the log-in area. The link’s valid for a week, or until you’ve used it. If you’re still having issues, email your name, email address and post code to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I need to amend a switch, but there seems to be a problem with my account.
If you’ve got a switch in process, you won’t be able to update your details until your application has been accepted or rejected. This makes sure you don’t make multiple applications or change any details which may alter the terms of your potential new tariff.
I've got another property, can I add it to my Cheap Energy Club account?
It's not something Cheap Energy Club can do at the moment, you'll have to set up a new account with a different email address.
This ensures when users receive an email alert about possible savings, it’s specific to their account information. But it’s something we’re working on, so watch this space.
How do I change my email address?
Log into your Cheap Energy Club account using the wrong/old email address and your password.
Click on the blue ‘Edit Account’ box (highlighted in red).
Then click on the ‘Edit’ button opposite your email address (highlighted in red) and you will be able to change the address.
The website keeps re-directing me to a page I don’t want… help!
I am using Google Chrome.
If you’re using the latest version of Google Chrome, open up a webpage. To the right of the URL bar is an icon that looks like three dashes. Once you’ve clicked on this icon, you’ll see a list of options. Select “History” and click the “Clear browsing data…” icon.
I am using Internet Explorer.
If you’re using the latest version of Internet Explorer, go to the top right hand side of your web browser.
Underneath the “X”, you’ll find a circular icon that shows your internet tools. Click this icon and a list of options will appear. You’ll need “Internet options”. Under the opening tab, “General”, you’ll see the “Browsing history” section with an icon “Delete…”
Once you’ve clicked this, make sure you have “Temporary internet files and website files”, “Cookies and website data” and “History” selected. Then finally, click delete.
I am using Mozilla Firefox.
If you’re using the latest version of Firefox, open up a web page. Along the top left you’ll find an orange bar with the words “Firefox”. This will bring a drop down menu were you will need to navigate to the “History” tab and finally click the “Clear recent history…” option.
If you have any queries or concerns, you can email us at email@example.com. Please include your full name, the email address you joined with and your postcode.
Atlantic: 0800 028 3028
British Gas/Scottish Gas: 0800 048 0202
Co-operative Energy: 0800 954 0693
Ebico: 0800 458 7689 or 01993 608404
Ecotricity: 0800 0302 302
EDF Energy: 0800 056 5927
Extra Energy: 0800 953 4774
Eon: 0345 301 4905
First Utility: 0800 0115167
Good Energy: 0800 254 0000
Green Energy: 0800 783 8851
Green Star Energy: 0800 012 4510
Loco2: 0845 074 3601
iSupply Energy: 0330 2020298
Npower: 0800 316 3375
Ovo: 0800 5999 440
Sainsbury's Energy: 0800 107 1879
SSE Scottish Hydro: 0800 980 2472
Scottish Power: 0800 027 0072
SSE: 0800 048 2412
Southern Electric: 0800 117 116
Spark Energy: 0345 034 7474
SSE Swalec: 0800 975 7542
The Utility Warehouse (Telecom Plus): 0800 131 3000
Utilita: 0345 207 2000
To help you decide which supplier to switch to, we’ve set up feedback discussions where you can read others’ comments or add your own. To post a comment, you’ll need to register but it’s free to join. If you’re new to forums, read our forum intro guide.
Here are the discussion threads for the biggest energy suppliers:
How it works
1. Check you're on the cheapest deal
There is no one cheapest provider. The cheapest tariff for you depends on where you live and how much energy you use. Give us your details and, using data from MoneySupermarket, we'll search the whole market and find the cheapest gas and electricity deal for you.
2. Constantly monitor your tariff
The energy market moves fast. Blink and you can miss good deals. Plus, what was once the market's top tariff for you can become pricier. With the details you've given us, we can constantly monitor the shifting sands and shout when it's time for you to switch.
3. Alert you when it's time to switch again
So you don't have to keep track of what's happening, once we know you can save money on your current deal, we'll drop you an email to remind you to switch. Can't be bothered to switch for £20? No problem, set your savings trigger to a figure that makes switching worthwhile and we'll only tell you when you can save that amount.