Gas prices

  ade.h 18:48 27 Jul 2006

With another British Gas price rise today, is it really worth swtiching to another company? People often say that it's x cheaper, but how can it really be noticeably cheaper when these companies get their supply from the same source and pay the same wholesale prices.

Has anyone got good or bad experiences of switching suppliers? Did the quality of service drop along with the price?

  johndrew 18:59 27 Jul 2006

In my opinion there is no such thing as a free lunch. As much as I hate prices rising I believe that it is important that you have a level of confidence that your supplier is in a position to provide whichever service you have bought.

I know that the statement is that all suppliers use the same pipes/wires/`phone lines, but in the same way that supplies were cut when the Russians raised prices to another ex-satelite country I feel the same could happen if there is a conflict between a `good payer` and one who provides for less. I`d like to think I`m wrong but .....

There is also the argument that with a limited resource, all prices will rise eventually anyway. You may gain a little in the short term but long term it will all even out.

Bit like the NHS vs. private medicine; if you want whistles and bells........... Not necessarily better treatment.

  ade.h 19:11 27 Jul 2006

I'm inclined to agree with your comments, John.

We are with the usual suspects at the moment (British Gas and Sourthern Electric) and although it's getting very expensive, I do wonder whether it would be wise to switch, but we have had a real headache with both companies this year with regard to billing errors. At the moment, I'm about £150 out of pocket due to BG and it's still unresolved at this time. suggested that Scottish Power and nPower would be appreciably cheaper, but their ratings are not very confidence inspiring at 61% and 57%.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 19:24 27 Jul 2006

Swapped to Atlantic just before the prices went crazy, was told they would save me 30% of my BG and Npower bills.

However am now paying double per month but that is still alot cheaper than if I had stayed put.

The Advice from the comsumer people is if you haven't swapped then do so provide you are not tied into a price free.

  SB23 19:45 27 Jul 2006

I'm waiting to have gas installed at my property, and to be honest, even with the rise in prices, I'm still looking forward to it.
Compared to coal prices, I will still save.
Plus the fact, no more trips to the coal bunker, no more ash to dispose of, I really cannot wait.

  oresome 20:11 27 Jul 2006

"Did the quality of service drop along with the price?"

If I'm typical, most will have nothing to do with the supplier from one year to the next.

They're just billing companies. Once the direct debit is set up, that's it.

If I have a failure of supply, which has happened, I don't ring them, I contact the local distribution company.

  ade.h 20:22 27 Jul 2006

That's true until you do get a billing problem, and that does seem to be a weak area.

That said, I would consider risking it, since no contract is involved as such.

Thanks for your replies, everyone.

  ade.h 21:03 27 Jul 2006

In a neat coincidence, the latest MSE newsletter has just dropped into my inbox and the hot topic is the gas price rises and whether we should all switch.

He says at first "don't switch yet" because every company will follow with higher prices in the next few weeks. So you should wait for the market to settle again before making a new comparison.

Then he sort of contradicts himself by suggesting that people who have never switched before should do so anyway.

I think I'll wait a few weeks, then check the market again.

  oresome 21:21 27 Jul 2006

I believe that people who have never switched and are therefore with their local regional supplier are on an artificially high tariff.

This was done at the time to promote competition and not allow the local supplier to become entrenched.

Hence the advise in the article which may seem contradictory.

  squillary 02:27 28 Jul 2006

Your local supplier isn't allowed to drop its prices in its local area, so as long as you switch away to someone (anyone) else it'll be cheaper. After that, it's a matter of waiting for some stability - if that ever happens.

I do advise you go to uswitch though. Aside from price comparisons you can do searches on customer satisfacton ratings or on green source of fuel. If you need the security of reasonable service or environmental considerations, this does point you in some kind of direction.

After that, it's pot luck. the bill will still be high... :(

  georgemac © 16:53 28 Jul 2006

I have switched several times, it always goes OK, but I have had the usual problems with getting the address right, and getting a refund of money owed to me.

Online Dual Fuel always seems the cheapest, and the best deal is almost always by getting both gas and elect from 1 company.

Unfortunately, I don't know when stability will occur in the market!

I also called EDF 2 weeks ago asking to transfer to the fixed price tarriff, was advised against this and did not push it, now faced with large price rises!

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