Every year over 6 million households take the opportunity to switch energy suppliers. By doing so they can save hundreds of pounds per year when compared with staying put.
Any internet search engine can help direct you towards services that offer to assist with the switching process. They have undoubtedly helped drive competition within the energy market and made millions of customers happy. They have proven to be a quick and easy tool that anyone with an internet connection can use.
This comparison market has produced some big names when it comes to the UK. Watch your favourite shows and during the adverts you are likely to see at least one. The likes of CompareTheMarket, GoCompare, Uswitch immediately spring to mind. Alongside these more ‘traditional’ comparison sites, others have sprung up which claim to make the switching process even easier. Among these is the Cheap Energy Club, which is managed by Martin Lewis’ MoneySavingExpert. So how do they compare and what separates them when it comes to services offered?
What is the Cheap Energy Club?
For those that don’t know, Martin Lewis is the founder of MoneySavingExpert.com. He holds a regular spot on ITV and offers consumer advice across a number of sectors. Over time he has become a trusted household name when it comes to saving money.
The Cheap Energy Club offers three levels of service.
At the lowest of these levels is ‘DIY Comparison’. With this offering you will enter your details and see a comparison of applicable deals from across the whole UK market.
The next level up is ‘Pick Me a Tariff’. Again, the whole market will be compared for you but this time the top tariff for you will be selected, based on your priorities. Sometimes it can seem like there is not much between tariffs which can make choosing the right deal difficult. By having this service filter through the deals for you, all you are left with is one offer. You can then either reject the deal or sign up to it.
An added bonus to this service is in a cash-back offer. As an incentive to the customer, MoneySavingExpert will pay £12.50 per fuel when you sign up. This means that you can get £25 cash back for signing up to a dual fuel deal.
Next and last on the level up list is MSE Autoswitch. Again, based on your details and priorities, the top tariff for you will be selected. However, this time the service will also sign you up for this deal. When that deal expires and a cheaper deal is found, the service will send you a notification to let you know that you are being automatically switched to a cheaper deal. You will need to authenticate the switch but that will be your only involvement in the process for as long as you are signed up to the service. You will also be eligible for the cash back benefit every time you switch.
‘Traditional’ Comparison Sites
In the unlikely event that you are totally unaware of how one of these services works:
First you will enter your details into the website of your chosen service. You are then able to either choose the deal for you straight away or look deeper into each offer before deciding between them. These services will often entice you in with offers such as money back, free gifts or money off.
What are the main differences between them?
The first notable difference is the MSE pledge to compare the whole of the UK market. Not all comparison sites will do this. In fact, you will struggle to find another that does. This is because as a business the comparison sites need to be paid. The consumer does not pay to make the comparisons, which leaves the energy suppliers as the main source of income. Therefore, only the suppliers that have paid will appear on comparison lists and by paying more, certain suppliers can be shown more prominently. This can mean that a consumer is not always seeing the best deal available and helps MSE come out on top in this regard.
Some ‘auto-switching’ services have started to appear but not amongst the ‘traditional’ comparison sites. Whether or not this kind of service is for you will depend on how you like to manage your services and bills. By leaving this entirely in the hands of MSE, you will never have to take time to search for deals again. You can be confident that you will be on as cheap a tariff as you can be as long as your requirements are simple. If you have complex needs or a non-standard meter, this service will not work for you. You may also miss out on any incentives being offered that you could have been interested in. Sometimes a benefit such as free boiler care, or the offer of a free smart thermostat may be worth paying a little more for.
As always, which is better falls to your own circumstances. If you have standardised meters and don’t really care who is supplying you then auto switching can be a great service. However, if you would prefer that you are supplied by only green energy, for example, or you have non-standard meters then a standard comparison will work best.