What Should I Compare, Other Than Price?

Let’s be honest for a second. When you’re looking for a brand new mobile phone, TV, gadget or gizmo – the most important (and sometimes the only) metric has to be price. When comparing slightly homogenous goods, price is sometimes the only objective data we have to make our purchasing decision.

It’s all well and good saying the TV you are selling has a 49” LCD IPS panel with QHD diamond bezeling for a mere £500, but for consumers without industry know-how – the only thing that will really stick in their head is the last few words. The price-tag.

And it is no different when looking for a new energy supplier. In fact, in our experience – we would say that the price of energy contracts influences consumer purchasing behaviour more than any other factor.

But why is this?

The price is right – but is it the king?

A crucial point that has to be made about the energy industry is that your average Joe Bloggs does not know an awful lot about it. When looking for energy contracts there is often a lot of information lumped into contract offerings that Mr Bloggs simply does not know an awful lot about, meaning he has to rely on the one metric he knows. Price.

This is no bad thing – we all want to save as much money as possible. But does picking the cheapest deal automatically mean Joe Bloggs has got the best deal available for himself?

Not necessarily.

With energy suppliers – there are things that could and really should be taken into consideration a bit more often.

You’ve just saved yourself £200 per annum by switching supplier? That’s brilliant! But have you taken a look at customer testimonials? If your new supplier is well known to leave customers (both literally and figuratively) in the dark when power-outages inevitably happen, suddenly that £200 saving doesn’t look quite as impressive.

Don’t panic just yet! Price is absolutely still king, we at Energy Solutions just think a little more time should be spent meeting the other members of the royal family…

Customer Service

This is a biggie. For this reason, it may crop up a little in the other sections of this article.

Let’s face it – it’s not very often you call up your energy supplier for fun. It is usually because something has gone wrong, or is about to go wrong. Very often customers contacting their energy supplier are stressed and are looking for someone to offer solutions quickly, instead of compounding negative emotions through poor customer service.

But how do you quantify something which is inherently subjective? Luckily, you don’t have to.

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Graph showing customer satisfaction scores for the Big6 Electricity Suppliers – Ofgem.co.uk

If only 28% of your customers would recommend your service to others, it is a pretty damning statistic… Certainly one that should be factored in to any decisions on signing with a new energy supplier.

Reviews

This will be a short point that we shan’t linger too long on. The majority of this article will focus on how we can transform subjective data into easily comparable objective-ish data to fuel our consumer decisions.

But it works both ways – sometimes the human experience can be lost in endless charts, graphs, and statistics. Before taking that leap of faith and signing a new contract, take a quick look at some customer reviews of the business. Ideally on an impartial website like

Trustpilot.com

If customers are going out of their way to write a review online for others to see it means that the service has either been really really good, or really really bad.

If your new potential supplier has a hidden Jekyll or Hyde side, it may be nice to know about it before signing a long-term contract…

Further to this point, Ofgem curate a great resource that graphs the number of complaints received by energy suppliers over a defined period of time. We have included a link to this resource below.

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Complaints received by energy suppliers – Ofgem.gov.uk

Additional Services

Energy suppliers have been forced to diversify their services in response to growing competition. As less and less of an edge is to be found in pricing, they have turned their attentions to other areas they can get one up on their competitors.

One such way that many suppliers will do this is by offering additional services on top of the supply of energy. For business customers, keep your eyes out for things that could potentially save you time or money in particular as it is likely you have the AQ to see some incredible results.

Green Goals

The UK government have regularly expressed their desire to reach carbon neutrality and have made huge commitments towards reaching this goal. This has been reflected by UK businesses making similar commitments to reaching net-zero carbon emissions, either in some areas of operation or entirely.

Energy contributes to a huge amount of these emissions, especially if the business is of large scale or requires high energy demands for areas of production.

One of the easiest ways to reach these goals (and more importantly, prove it) is to partner with an energy supplier who offers renewably sourced and certified energy.

Not all suppliers do this, or do it with varying degrees of success. Either way it should be something to take into consideration.

Social Policies

How important is positive social action to you?

It is becoming more and more common for businesses to invest a portion of their revenue back into various community programmes – either locally or nationally. These programmes can vary from tree-planting initiatives, community centre funding, to educational grants.

In the energy industry, the most common way that customers will see this implemented is through various carbon-offsetting initiatives (like tree-planting). It is incredibly positive to see energy suppliers acknowledge a problem they directly contribute to, and work towards solving it.

For domestic customers with low levels of consumption, it may not be something they feel too guilty about, and may not have any strong opinions on. For businesses with huge annual consumption or a ‘sustainable’ based product, the value of being associated with an energy supplier that contributes to positive social action could be of incredible value.

How to ensure a comprehensive approach

We have already included a few great online resources to help guide your decision a little better, but there is one in particular that we feel offers the most useful interface (as well as being updated regularly).

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Table showing comparison of energy suppliers – Citizensadvice

This online resource compiled by citizensadvice.org is updated quarterly – rating 35 energy suppliers across five different key metrics and providing an overall rating. Whereas Ofgem only shows the Big6 electricity and gas suppliers in the UK, this resource shows 35 with a further option to find any suppliers not already included in the list.

Although this should not be the only comparison resource used, it should absolutely be included in your search method.

About Our Services

Energy Solutions have spent enough time in the energy procurement business to understand the wide spectrum of customer needs, and how to fulfil them.

We pride ourselves on our knowledge of the UK energy industry, all of our energy experts are just a phone-call away.

You can find all of our contact information here: energybrokers.co.uk

We look forward to hearing from you!

Google Snippets

Why should I switch energy suppliers during my renewal period?

Many energy suppliers will charge early termination fees for cancelling your contract out-with of your renewal period. In order to avoid these fees and any undue stress, switching should be left until your renewal period. For all rules and regulations on this, check out Ofgem’s website.

Will I get a cheaper energy contract with my current supplier or a new supplier?

It is difficult to say with any certainty. If you have been with your supplier for a long time with no suggestion of leaving, it is unlikely you are receiving the best price available on your contract. It is always worth checking what offers are out there during your renewal period, if you find a better price then your current supplier may even offer to beat it, just to retain your custom.

What is important when choosing an energy contract?

Price is the most common metric that is thought of when choosing an energy contract. There are other things that should be taken into consideration, however. Such as; customer service, customer reviews, additional services, social policies, and if their operational nature ties in with your green/sustainability goals.

What else to think about when choosing an energy contract, apart from price?

Other things to evaluate before choosing an energy contract is the supplier’s customer service, customer reviews, additional services, social policies, and if their operational nature ties in with your green/sustainability goals. Different customers have different needs, take some time to figure out what is most important to you.

For more information about this post and how Energy Solutions can help with your Electricity, Gas, or Water, click on the links, or check out the contact details at the bottom of the page.