This content originally appeared in the MSE weekly email on 16 September 2015.
ENDS THU 10PM: The Big Energy Switch Event III
- Millions can save £250+/yr + £30 cashback + 1,500 Clubcard points
- We've negotiated CHEAPER THAN THE CHEAPEST gas & electricity tariffs
- "Just switched gas & electricity and saved £460/year. Ta for the tip"
Tomorrow (Thursday) at 10pm our 3rd MSE collective switch ends, so apply asap and within 17 days you should be switched across - perfect timing to slash the cost of your energy before the big winter bills start.
A collective's where a trusted intermediary (eg, a council or us) runs an auction for energy firms to bid to provide special tariffs. Our 10m email recipients and 1.7m Cheap Energy Club members mean our winners smash the best-buys.
In the last fortnight 45,000+ have already switched - Chris tweeted: "Switched and saved £460/yr. Ta", Janet: "Will pay the same for dual fuel as I was for just gas - marvellous", Ian: "Moved my existing E.on tariff to yours - £495 saving."
- How to grab a winning tariff: Collective switch rules mean you need to go via our Cheap Energy Club and fill in your details (sadly not for prepay or those in NI). It's best if you've bills to hand - if not, it can estimate. After it...
- Shows your exact price and saving, and compares to ALL market tariffs. While our collective tariffs usually win, there can be regional & usage variations.
- Gives £30 dual fuel cashback (£15 elec-only). Any time we can switch you (collective switch or not) we give this - sent roughly 60-90 days later.
- Monitors that it stays cheap. You set a 'trigger saving', eg, £100/yr, then we alert you if you can save this by switching again - perfect for fixed deals where cheap rates only last a short time. This takes the hassle out of energy tarting, where you constantly switch to get the cheapest rate.
- MSE Big Switch III winner 1: The cheapest tariff (dual fuel & elec-only). This MSE E.on 12-month tariff will save someone with typical bills on a big six standard tariff £280/year and as it's a fix, the rate is locked in for a year. It's available for those wanting dual fuel, elec-only or Eco 7.
- Plus get £30 cashback from the Cheap Energy Club (£15 elec-only).
- Plus get up to 1,500 Tesco Clubcard or £15 high st voucher (eg, Argos) as you get 1,500 E.on reward pts over the year convertible into either. You must tick 'sign up to E.on rewards' during application though.
- Plus if you're an existing E.on customer on ANY of its tariffs, you can switch to this without paying any early exit penalties, even if they'd normally apply.
How it compares
- Good for you if: 1) You want the cheapest. 2) You're OK switching in a year.
- Not for you if: 1) You want to be able to switch penalty-free - though it's so much cheaper you could take this & pay the fee if you need to move. 2) You're moving home imminently (as you can't take the tariff with you).
- How's the customer service? Decent - 54% great and just 10% poor in our last poll. Plus, it was our Big Switch I winner and it handled the huge demand well (whereas Sainsbury's Energy in Big Switch II struggled).
- MSE Big Switch Event III winner 2: The cheapest THREE-WINTER fix. For long-term surety, the winner's MSE Green Star 36mth fix. It's avail for dual fuel, elec-only or Eco 7. Many can slash their costs by nearly £200/yr and ensure no price hikes for 3yrs. Plus you get our £30 cashback (£15 elec-only).
How it compares
- Good for you if: 1) You don't usually switch and often forget - as do this now & you needn't act again until 2018. 2) You're worried about future price hikes and prefer to bag the certainty of a long-term cheap price.
- Not for you if: 1) You just want the cheapest price. 2) You want to be able to switch penalty-free. 3) You may soon move home (as you can't take it with you, though it won't charge exit fees in this case). 4) You want 100% renewable energy as this tariff, while reasonably green, doesn't hit that.
- How's the customer service? Green Star's only been around since 2013, so while it scored 77% great & just 2% poor in our last poll, that was on just 65 votes. It's won our collectives before & we've had few reported problems.
- MSE Big Switch Event III winner 3: The cheapest GREEN tariff. The winning tariff that's generated 100% of its elec from renewable sources is this MSE Green Star 12mth fix - which fully complies with Ofgem's green tariff requirements without a huge premium compared to the non-green winner. It's for dual fuel, elec-only & Eco 7. Plus you get our £30 cashback (£15 elec-only).
How it compares
- Good for you if: 1) You believe in green. 2) You want a competitive price, but will pay a little more for eco. 3) You're happy to switch again in a year.
- Not for you if: 1) You just want the cheapest. 2) You want to be able to switch penalty-free. 3) You'll move home soon (as you can't take it with you, though it won't charge exit fees in this case).
- How's the customer service? Green Star's only been around since 2013, so while it scored 77% great and 2% poor in our last poll, that was on just 65 votes. It's won our collectives before & we've had few reported problems.
- MSE Big Switch Event III: The cheapest prepaid tariff. We tried for a key or card tariff, but no supplier's bid beat the market's best buys. Instead, just use our Prepayment Comparison to find your cheapest. However, even on them you'll still be paying £300/yr more than the cheapest direct debit deal. To see if you can switch to a standard meter, read Prepaid Gas & Electricity.
The MSE Big Switch Event III quick FAQ
For more detailed answers see the full MSE collective FAQ
Q. I'm already with one of these providers (eg, E.on). Can I still switch? Yes (incl from our Big Switch I E.on winner), and you get our cashback. Plus E.on and Green Star say they won't charge exit fees on their existing tariffs if you change to their winner (eg, E.on-> E.on, GS-> GS). As Chris said: "Already with E.on, applied online for your collective tariff with them. They switched me in 2 days - £170 saved."
Q. What do I need to switch? A bill, preferably your annual bill, would be good - and use kWh rather than cost if you can. Yet if you don't have that, estimate your usage (if you're moving home the comparison does it for you) and while the answer won't be perfect, it shouldn't be too far out.
Q. Does MSE make money from this? Yes. We're paid £60ish/dual fuel switch & give you £30 as cashback. After supplier costs we get £11 for costs and profit.
Q. I'm already locked into a fix - should I switch? Possibly. Just do our comparison, which shows you how much you'd save compared to your current fix & the price it jumps to after. Just ensure you factor in any exit penalties. PS: Firms CAN'T charge exit fees if you're within 49 days of the tariff ending.
Q.Who's responsible for these tariffs - MSE or the energy firm? The energy firm is, and you pay it. Yet we take our bit seriously and ask all providers to set up special customer help teams with max 48-hour response times. If something goes wrong, and it won't help, let us know and we'll try to help.
Q. If prices are dropping, should I wait? British Gas may've recently cut its standard gas price by 5%, but it's still on avg £280/yr more than our E.on fix. Other cheap fixes could launch, but with the Tesco points/vch this is on avg £50 cheaper than the next best fix (£80 with cashback) - that's a big gap.
Over the next year energy prices should dip further - but there'd need to be huge drops to substantially beat this, and switching now means saving now. And even if prices do drop in an unprecedented way, the worst case scenario is you pay the £30/fuel exit fees and switch, and meanwhile you'd likely have saved more than that anyway. See the price predictions MSE news story.
More quick FAQs:
- Can I switch if I've got solar & FIT? Yes. See full solar & FIT info.
- Can I switch if I've got a smart meter? Yes, but you may lose functionality.
- Can I keep my Warm Home Discount? Only with E.on - see Warm Home.
- Is there a credit check? E.on yes, Green Star no. See collective credit check.
- Can I get paper bills? Yes, but you pay up to £15/yr more - see paper bills.
- Can I switch if supplied by an independent gas transporter? Yes. See IGT Help.
- Where can I see the standing charge and kWh costs? They vary by region, so we display your exact cost in the Cheap Energy Club comparison result.
- I'm in credit - will I get it back if I switch? Yes. See Reclaim Energy Credit.
- I'm in debt - can I switch? Yes, usually - see switching in debt help.
- Is paying by direct debit cheapest? Yes, but do regular meter readings.
- Can they put my price up on a cheap fix? The rate's fixed, but use more (or if it's estimated you will) & the direct debit can rise. See Fight Unfair Direct Debits.
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