It was announced this morning that British Gas’s profits have soared 31% in the 12 months up to 31st December 2015. It is not a massive surprise considering the price of oil has fallen so sharply over the last 18 months. In July 2014 the price for crude Brent oil was approximately $110 per barrel – on January 1st 2016 it was nearer $38.
What this means is that British Gas (and the other energy companies) have been able to source their gas / oil at a far lower price, but – and this is the key point here – the price that you and I pay for our energy (heating and electricity) hasn’t really changed.
Okay – the big Six Energy companies have just announced 5% cuts to their gas bills – but these only take effect from the end of the heating season (so March 2016 onwards). 5% is not a great reduction when you consider the drop in the price they are sourcing the fuel at. Also, all the Big 6 energy companies have failed to drop the price of electricity at all – remember that much of the electricity we use on a daily basis is derived from fossil fuel power plants.
So what can we do as consumers (aside from being angry!)
Well we really only have two options:
1. Find a lower energy tariff elsewhere
Using a website like uSwitch is a great way to find a more cost effective tariff.
Remember that the electricity and gas you buy is the same regardless of who you buy it from. You may have seen the First Utility ad doing the rounds at the minute and their tongue in cheek Unicorn Power – it is a common misconception that people think the quality of electricity will differ between suppliers, however it is identical – 100% the same!
The electricity and gas that you get from the grid doesn’t differ between suppliers, therefore why not switch to another company offering cheaper prices? Remember that smaller companies like First Utility and Ovo energy have a much lower cost base than the big six – therefore they can offer much more competitive prices.
Remember too that if you pay by direct debit or get both electricity and gas from the same supplier you will pay less.
2. Lower energy usage
This can be done in a huge number of ways that we cover across TheGreenAge.
If you want a quick, easy to read list, you might want to take a look at our 100 ways to save energy in the home.
We share consumers’ pain when it comes to energy prices – it is not fair that the big energy companies feel that they can charge whatever they feel is appropriate. Electricity and gas is essential for many of us and it is used on a daily basis, so we really do encourage our readers to try and take action. We know that Amber Rudd has said that she will do everything in her power to try to help consumers, but her actions this far have done exactly the opposite (killing Green Deal for example!)
We hope this blog will encourage a few of you to switch suppliers but obviously using less energy is our primary aim here at TheGreenAge. We continue to provide energy saving advice on a weekly basis to 10,000s of consumers.
Think we missed something? Do you have a different opinion?
Comment below to get your voice heard…