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Help & Frequently Asked Questions


HOW TO REGISTER AND COMPARE DEALS

The calculator estimates your current energy usage based on your annual kilowatt hour (kWh) usage, your bill amount or the answers to the estimator questions provided.

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 or billing types are also taken into account. The estimated annual savings figure is calculated by subtracting the costs of other tariffs from your current costs.

  1. Go to the Cheap Energy Club home page and click the orange 'compare and constantly save' button.
  2. Enter your postcode, select your address.
  3. Enter your current gas & electricity supplier, tariff name, usage, etc.
  4. Enter your name, surname and email address and make up a password.
  5. Tick the T&Cs box.
  6. 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.

If you have a recent bill or letter, your current supplier's name will be at the top. If you don't have a letter or bill, you can 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 & North Wales - 0845 270 9101
South Wales - 01752 502 299
West Midlands - 01384 343 838
East Midlands - 0845 603 0618

Yes we do- we don't exclude any tariffs, nor do we do what some comparison sites do and have a default setting where you only see those that pay us. Though of course if you select our'top picks' tab - as is explained there - you'll only see a limited number of tariffs based on those we think, for editorial merit, you should also consider but may miss if you're just looking at pure price.

It's important to note that there are also 'collective switches' available sometimes, and we can't include those. A collective switch is where a trusted intermediary such as a local council or other organisation asks energy firms to bid to provide a tariff for it. Often they don't trouble the best buy tables, but sometimes they do (we have run two Cheap Energy Club collective switches, which were better than the market leaders). So it is possible, on occasion, that an 'exclusive' elsewhere may undercut the winner of our open market comparison - yet, if you are considering one, do make sure you compare it.

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.

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.

You can't compare Economy 10 tariffs or other less common 'time of usage' tariffs such as THTC or 20:20 throught comparison sites. But our handy step-by-step guideguide shows you how to work out if you're overpaying on Economy 10 prices, and if it's worth considering switching.

Pick the cash/cheque option in the dropdown list.

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.

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.

The scheme requires energy suppliers with more than 250,000 domestic (not business) customers, by law, to help vulnerable customers pay for electricity by providing a discount of £140.

Who's eligible? The core group it helps are those who get the Guarantee Credit Element of Pension Credit.

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, Ovo Energy, Sainsbury's Energy, Scottish Gas (British Gas), Scottish Hydro, ScottishPower, Southern Electric, SSE, SWALEC, Utility Warehouse.

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.

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).

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.

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.

ABOUT CHEAP ENERGY CLUB

Suppliers pay £60/dual fuel switch (£30 single fuel) to comparisons and 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.

ALL ABOUT SWITCHING

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. But, now the big six energy providers (as well as some smaller providers) don't charge extra

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.

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.

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.

Usually your new supplier should contact you within a couple of weeks of you submitting the application. But if you haven't heard from it after that point, you'll need to contact it directly to get an update on your switch.

MoneySupermarket sends switch applications to the energy suppliers (usually within 24-48 hours, we’re only told about rejected or accepted switches after they have happened.

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.

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.

You can switch your gas and electricity energy supplier and this shouldn't affect the payments that you get from your existing feed-in tariff provider - it is obliged to continue making payments to you. You can do your switch as normal via Cheap Energy Club, or via any other switching site.

If you'd like to change your feed-in tariff provider, you'll need to arrange this with your chosen supplier - you can't do this through Cheap Energy Club.

The'big six' energy companies (British Gas, EDF, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE) must pay a feed-in tariff to you if you generate renewable energy at home through your solar panels. Some smaller companies don't offer feed-in tariffs but to find out which ones do, please see Ofgem's website.

See the Solar Panels guide for more info.

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.

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).

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, but it can sometimes take longer if your supplier is slow to confirm this to us. It will appear as "EnergyClubCashbk". If it has been over 6 months since your switch, let us know by emailing energyclub@moneysavingexpert.com and we'll follow this up 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.

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.

ENERGY PROVIDERS & TARIFFS

Fixed tariffs are deals where the price per unit of energy used is set for the term of your energy contract - they offer surety against rising energy prices. When a fixed tariff ends the supplier usually moves you onto its pricier standard tariff.

Of course, Cheap Energy Club is designed to help overcome this - we'll alert you when you're nearing the end of your tariff and it's time to switch again. And don't worry, Ofgem (the regulator) rules mean you can't be charged exit penalties if you're within 49 days of the tariff end date. Here's a list of the current fixes that are due to end soon.

Fixed deals that are about to end
Supplier Tariff name End date
EDF Blue + Price Promise Aug 2015 31 Aug 2015
First Utility iSave Fixed Aug 2015 31 Aug 2015
Sainsbury's Fixed Price Aug 2015 31 Aug 2015
Last updated 3 Aug 2015

 

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.

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.

It takes about six weeks for your supply to go live, but some suppliers have now introduced faster switching, which should mean some switches will complete in around three weeks.

It may take a couple of weeks to get your welcome pack from the provider. 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.

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.

There are lots of different ‘environmentally friendly tariffs’ available on the market with different shades of greenness available. Some commit to a proportion of your fuel coming from green sources, while others promise that 100% of your energy will be renewable. Ofgem's recently-introduced green criteria goes beyond whether the energy comes from green sources, requiring tariffs to include additional benefits to the environment.

On your Cheap Energy Club results page, you'll find a '100% Renewable' tab to allow you to compare tariffs where the electricity is 100% generated from renewable sources such as wind, solar and hydro, rather than from burning coal and gas.

The premise of this is simple enough - "fixed prices that won’t go up but may come down". It gives a guaranteed price and the flexibility that it could drop in price should there be cuts to the standard tariff. However this tariff costs significantly more than normal fixes available on the market, so doesn’t usually work out as the best option.

For more on this take a look at our Fix & Fail guide

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

Benchmark prices. Use comparison sites Compare Fuel Oil and BoilerJuice to find a competitive price. Don't buy via them, though.

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.

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.

MY ACCOUNT

To update your account details (and ensure that we're monitoring the correct details) just log into your Energy Club account and follow these instructions:

  • On the Welcome Back homepage, scroll down to Current Tariff Details
  • Click on Edit Details and then you will be able to update your usage, as well as, your supplier and tariff

If you switch through Energy Club, your tariff will automatically update for you once your supplier confirms the switch (it normally takes around 12 weeks for it to update us).

Why would you want to do that?! Let us know if there's an issue by emailing energyclub@moneysavingexpert.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.

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: energyclub@moneysavingexpert.com.

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.

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.

We built Cheap Energy Club to constantly monitor your energy tariff. Energy suppliers constantly launch new tariffs, plus prices can rise and fall so it isn’t unusual for you to receive a savings alert email a few months after switching.

How often you switch depends on what kind of a MoneySaver you are. Some people like the thrill of knowing they’re always on the very cheapest tariff, others are content to know they’re not hugely overpaying. If you want to receive fewer alerts, consider setting your trigger figure higher. To do this, simply login to your Energy Club Account and go to the monitoring information section.

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.

TECHNICAL HITCHES

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.

CONTACTS

If you have any queries or concerns, you can email us at energyclub@moneysavingexpert.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 other' 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:

British Gas
E.on
Ebico
Ecotricity
EDF Energy
Extra Energy
First Utility
M&S Energy
Npower
Ovo
Sainsbury's Energy
SSE Scottish Hydro
Scottish Power
SSE Southern Electric
SSE
SSE Swalec

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.