fEAsible, financial focusing, my goals, trEAsury

Financial Focusing update #6

Financial task today – do some research into the energy suppliers.

Well what a minefield this is – Tarrifs, standing charge, fixed price, online billing, monthly direct debits – whatever you choose alters the price you pay.  All I want is a reasonable price that is straightforward and fair and one where I keep more of my money than they do!

At present we have electricity provided by Scottish Power a packaged called Online Fixed Price energy until August 2014 – no standing charge and payment by monthly direct debit – only it isn’t by monthly direct debit as they have been taking the full amount of the bill each quarter and they don’t seem to know why!  We are waiting for an answer on this one!  It actually makes no difference to us because the money is in our ‘Bill account’ and it does mean that we only pay for what we use and the credits don’t mount up but often the energy price is dearer if you pay this way.

Our gas is provided by Npower.  We are on an ‘Online fixed price’ deal until end of January 2014 payment by monthly direct debit.  They have been voted the worst provider for customer service.  Because of some problems they have been having the last bill we received was July 2013 and the next one won’t be issued until February.  This means that we cannot access a bill to see if we are in credit or debit.  Given that in July 2013 we were £305.43 in credit and the winter has not been that cold so far I am hoping we might get a refund.

With limited information to hand I ran one of those price comparison exercises and Scottish Power come out quite favourable – not the cheapest but almost for our area.  I also found First Utility, Green Star and the Co-op would be a good deal.  A little more research is needed but I like the sound of Green Star and the Co-op.  In fact you can become a member with the Co-op for £1 and earn points for every £1 spent on energy.  Our most urgent task is to switch suppliers from Npower before 1st February otherwise we will be on a dearer tariff when the fixed price ends.  Of  course they may offer a good deal to keep us as customers if we ring them…watch this space.

So the question I need to answer is  – exactly what is our energy usage over the year?  To find this out I need to visit our accounts online.  Once armed with this information I will be in a better position to know if any of the deals will save us money.

My other task today was to take some cash to the bank.  I had some cash from my mum and sister-in-law to reimburse for items I had purchased and some Xmas money.  So everything has now been refunded and credited.  I owe nothing and apart from my dear bro owing me £15 for some food at the family gathering I am owed nothing.

Tomorrow is our staff conference and we will be provided with sandwiches and cakes so I won’t have to buy any lunch.  Shame we don’t have one every week!