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Compare Gas Prices – A Consumer Perspective

compare gas pricesThe Internet boasts a growing number of resources that help to compare gas prices, and consumers use these websites to make noticeable savings on their household and business utility costs. Price comparison websites have soared in popularity over recent years; the UK car insurance marketplace, in particular, has been revolutionised by these popular online resources. As consumer demand for preferential utility rates increases, the number of opportunities to compare gas prices grows in turn.

To understand why individuals and companies compare gas prices, one has to appreciate the changes in the utility marketplace over the past thirteen years. In May 1998, the UK Government implemented new legislation that regulated the use and purchase of gas in a more competitive manner. The changes have seen a larger number of utility providers tussling for a greater percentage of the market share, and 7 million UK consumers who compare gas prices have switched suppliers to save money on their gas and electricity bills.

The use of price comparison websites holds many benefits. Convenience, a comprehensive overview of the different options available and the opportunity to compare gas prices without having to undertake extensive research all lead to a more satisfying online experience. However, consumers should be advised that a change of supplier might not result in cheaper utility costs. In many cases, a simple change in tariff can lead to significant financial savings without the need to put faith in unfamiliar companies or organisations.

A typical price comparison website allows consumers to compare gas prices based on their existing tariff. By providing a local postcode and a minimal amount of information about an existing gas supplier, site users are able to obtain a series of comparable results that highlight preferential tariffs offered by the same provider or their competitors. Consumers can also compare gas prices to estimate annual savings, view a typical annual bill or to calculate the amount of green energy a supplier can provide.

Once suppliers and tariffs have been compared, consumers can click through to an application page that walks the reader through the transfer process in easy-to-follow terms. Meter readings will be required to help calculate outstanding balances with an existing provider, and for setting up an opening balance with a new company. Consumers are advised to compare gas prices on several different price comparison websites, as many resources have preferential discounts available that can lead to bigger financial savings.

The transfer application process notifies the old provider to make sure there are no objections to the change in supplier, and issues only arise if there are large outstanding balances to be paid on an existing account. However, it is always advisable to contact a current supplier directly to inform them of your intentions; this alleviates the risk of any confusion, and helps the transition between different companies to run more smoothly. The potential to compare gas prices as a means of saving money will always be paramount to consumers, but attention should also be paid to the quality of service a new supplier can provide.  In particular, their willingness to let new customers walk away from an unsatisfactory transfer without incurring financial penalties must always be considered.


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