With rising fuel prices, it's more important than ever to make sure you're getting the best deal from your gas supplier - but choosing a well-known provider is no guarantee you'll be receiving the best service for your money.
When you consider that simply switching supplier could save you more money on your gas bills than making costly improvements to insulate your home or replace your boiler, staying with your old supplier out of a sense of 'loyalty' could be an expensive decision.
There are many companies offering gas supply services in the UK, but wherever you live it's always advisable to research the company's reputation before signing up to their service. Although locally-based suppliers may sometimes offer reduced rates, there are often greater long-term benefits and discounts available when choosing a supplier that operates nationally.
Heading online is the most convenient way to compare tariffs of gas suppliers, especially when checking out the company's own website to see the range of deals available. Using price comparison websites could be deceptive, as these may only list the standard tariffs of various suppliers, without alerting users to the alternative options available that could be better suited to their situation. These discounts could include reduced rates for dual fuel tariffs, if you switch both your electricity and gas to the same supplier.
Not all gas deals are suitable for everyone, of course, and customers need to assess their personal situation to find out how much gas they are using to help them decide whether they could make savings. Looking over your bills for the past year to obtain an annual total will help you compare online - though you should ensure these are accurate meter readings rather than estimates, which can vary widely.
One advantage of comparing gas suppliers over other services is that all suppliers are legally required to publish their prices, so there will be no hidden costs involved when signing up to your new service. However, customers are encouraged to check whether their supplier adds a standing charge to gas bills, which can sometimes result in a higher unit price for gas used.
Another factor to consider when finding the best gas supplier is the payment options they offer, which can sometimes provide further discounts - for example, when you sign up with direct debit. Suppliers will also usually be happy to arrange the payment method that best suits you, whether you would prefer to pay weekly, monthly or quarterly.