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Electricity providers and customer retention

We’re struggling to get our heads around why electricity providers in the UK don’t want to retain customers. When we moved into our property, we inherited EON as our providers and the kW tariff wasn’t great. We called EON to see if they’d be willing to drop their rate, and they refused to budge. So we went online, did our comparisons and switched to OVO Energy on a one year contract.

That year has now expired and we received an email from OVO Energy informing us that it was time to renew. I logged into our account, and saw that the cheapest renewal rate was 17.70p/kW – for the past year our rate was 14.5p/kW – which was a hefty rise given that we consume vast amounts of energy on our air source heat pump (read our air source heat pump review here).

Up to this point, OVO Energy had been a good provider and we had no issues with them, so we contacted their customer support team and were really surprised to see that they had no interest in negotiating.

So I popped onto the comparison websites, and after a few hours of number crunching, we found a new supplier that provides 100% renewable energy for 13.84p/kW, and we’re in the process of switching.

When I spoke to our neighbours a couple of days ago about this, I was really surprised that they’ve been with their provider for decades and are paying in excess of 25p/kW – and that’s when the penny dropped. Most of these providers must just take a chance that people won’t have the time or take the effort to switch.

Like I said, it took me hours to find a cheaper provider and to sift through “good deals” that aren’t always so good, and a lot of people just won’t take the time to do this, staying on with their providers that keep picking up their rates year on year.

On the subject of good deals, don’t look at the “you’ll save £800” a year when you switch – these are empty numbers. Identify what you’re paying per kW – the average fee is between 15-19p. Once you know your rate, shop around for cheaper rates, because what you’re spending per kW is ultimately what will dictate how much you spend (and save) on electricity.

So my advice is for you to see what you’re paying for your electricity (p/kW) and see if you can find a cheaper provider. Once you’ve found one, you don’t have to do anything as part of the switch as that is all taken care of by the new provider. It’s a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned.

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