First Utility is Officially Cheaper than British gas . . . according to British Gas

If you’re not from the UK this post won’t mean much to you. Here though, the 2013 news agenda has been very much concerned with the UK’s power companies (Gas/Electricity) and how competitive they are and whether they’re abusing their dominant market position. Prices for gas and electricity have shot up drastically over the past years, and each year the price bump easily surpasses inflation (10% is the norm).

If you’ve ever considered switching from one of the so-called Big Six to one of the smaller providers…read on…If you’re too busy and don’t have time for the whole shebang then here’s the money shot:

I switched my gas supply from British Gas in November 2012 to rival First Utility. In those seven months — which included one of the coldest winters for some time and I believe the longest for 60 years — I saved £130.32. 16% cheaper than if I’d been with British Gas. How do I know . . . ? Because a nice person at British Gas worked it out for me and sent me the result and paid me the money.

 

Here are the full gory details:

bg-first-util-difference

Tariffs

I was on British Gas’s standard tariff . . . I’m not sure what that means exactly. I never did investigate cheaper options and I accept fully that there may well exist an offering or product from British Gas that might have matched the First Utility tariff. The FU tariff I switched to was their iSave v4 2014, i.e. fixed until March 2014. The cost per KWh for both is shown on the left.

Residence profile

The calculations above refer to a 3-bed Victorian terraced house in London with pretty good loft insulation and some rather leaky window frames. Occupants are two adults and 2 toddlers which, if you have children, will clearly explain the high cost of my gas supply.

 

How on earth . . what the . . . ?

To cut a long story short the switch to First Utility never went ahead. I received correspondence from both British Gas and First Utility that the switch had occurred but it had failed. The fault lay with British Gas. It wasn’t picked up by them until well into 2013 by which time I was in arrears to BG for quite some amount. I paid the arrears and then went into letter-writing mode for a month or so. I suggested that to make things right BG should work out what I would have paid had I been in FU’s tariff for the whole seven months and pay me the difference. I have to credit to BG’s complaints team who were brilliant on this and agreed. I was taking a little bit of a gamble  . .  I mean it could have worked out more expensive right? But I had faith in some of FU’s literature (not that much) which extolled their tariff over BG’s . . .but still, if BG had come back and said actually you would have been worse off under FU then I would have been extremely embarrassed. And if you’re wondering why I didn’t work it out myself before going to BG and asking them to cough up . .well . . take a look at those calcs above . . would you have known where to begin? The tariff system for all the providers — Big Six and the minnows — is a disgrace need to be totally revamped.

 

 

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