Part of the skill set of entrepreneurship is keeping costs down. I spent some time this week doing my annual energy supplier switch (which everyone should do) and looking carefully at the assumptions that some of the comparison sites use. For an industry that claims to make things simple they seem to go out of their way to confuse unwary consumers.
USwitch.com won’t actually tell me what my energy bill will be if I switch suppliers. They indicate how much I will save, which looks great, but fail to mention that this isn’t based on my current tariff at all. What they actually do is assume that you will be switched to the most expensive tariff with your supplier and base their savings on this rather than the one you are on. I wonder how many people bother to check these calculations before switching?
There is an implicit assumption that comparison sites are designed to help the consumer save money which isn’t true in my case.
According to USwitch I would save £961 by paying £23 someone else more than my current tariff with my current supplier. That’s right, I pay £23 more but save £961 – what sort of mathematics is that?
USwitch would also receive a fee of £60 from Sainsbury’s Energy for making me switch. Asking my current provider for a better deal produced an annual saving of £472. That’s a saving over what I currently pay, not over a made up number designed to get you to switch.