Energy supplier tricks preventing you from cutting your energy bills
The reason you are paying more than you need to for your gas and electricity is because you do not switch energy providers. You only need to do a 5 minute check once a year to ensure you are not paying too much for your energy.
Even if you want to keep receiving paper bills and pay your bills quarterly and not have to manage your energy online you can still save money. Of course if you are willing to switch to online paperless bills and pay by monthly direct debit you can save even more and it is honestly less hassle than having to phone your energy supplier.
Comparing and switching
Energy companies have to follow Ofgem guidelines, these guidelines are complicated and do not appear to have the desired effect of simplifying energy.
It is in the interest of energy suppliers (mostly the Big 6) to keep you in the dark about whether or not you are spying too much and making it appear too complicated or too much hassle to do anything about it.
The good news is that it really is simple to see if you are being overcharged and switch to a cheaper energy supplier.
The bad news is that the energy industry, at least when it comes to the Big 6, will never change. This isn't some vague conspiracy theory, they really are out to get you and keep you as a customer as long as you are willing to keep on paying their over the top charges.
Energy company tricks
Energy companies do not use tricks per se, it's more sleight of hand. No-one likes looking at their energy bill, your energy company especially and I will explain why.
Ofgem rules state that your energy company has to let you know if you are overpaying. Yes that's correct, it actually tells you on your bill. It tells you that they are milking you like the cash cow that you are and they will continue to do so, but don't worry we are offering you the best tariff available. I'm paraphrasing here but you get the picture, in fact here's the picture below from an actual SSE bill.
Good news! you're already on our cheapest Evergreen tariff.
The message on your energy bill makes it appear that you are already getting a good deal. You are not. Evergreen tariffs or standard tariffs are the most expensive tariff that you can be on. However customers read this message and feel reassured and think they are being looked after but only in the sense that the farmers cows are being looked after.
Unfortunately many of the customers who get these messages on their bills will be of grandparent age and are the least likely to switch energy suppliers. They are also likely to have been with the same energy company for many years and with one of the Big 6 energy companies such as SSE or British Gas.
You may also find a message stating that you can save a miserly amount by switching to your energy providers cheapest overall tariff. That's the message that is displayed on your bill right next the one above telling you that you are already on the cheapest evergreen tariff. Confused? Many customers are.
The 'cheapest evergreen tariff' means the rate they charge you if you have not moved to another tariff your energy company provides. Whereas the 'cheapest overall tariff' is the one they say you can switch to but they only show you their tariffs.
Whole of the market energy comparison
So if we did a whole of the market energy comparison we can see how much cheaper we could get our gas and electricity if we switched energy suppliers.
The average UK household uses 3,100 kWh a year for electric and 12,000 kWh for gas. Ofgems official average usage is slightly lower for electricity now as they changed it in 2020 but at Safe Energy Switch we use their older figures so that all the price illustrations we use on this site are not skewed.
So on SSE's standard tariff you would be paying £1,152.95 a year (£96.08 a month). If you took the advice of SSE and switched to their SSE 1 year fix you would pay £1,138.23 a year (£94.85 a month) and save about £15 a year.
If you compare the whole of the energy market, that's any tariff you could switch to right now the cheapest equivalent tariff that is also a 1 year fix with no exit fees would cost you £818.61 a year (£68.22 a month) saving you about £334 a year. That's a big saving just by doing a simple 5 minute energy comparison.
You can try it yourself right now comparing your current energy supplier to see how much you could save.