Energy. Find out how you can save on your final bill

 Energy.  Find out how you can save on your final bill

The data is not encouraging. In the first six months of the year, electricity prices for household consumers “risen sharply”, compared to the same period in 2021, when the consumption of 100 kWh for a family cost an average of 22 euros. Now, with these increases and for the same consumption, the value rises to 25.3 euros, according to Eurostat.

And for the coming year the values ​​will rise again. The Energy Services Regulatory Authority (ERSE) states that consumers still in the regulated market – some 930,000 households – should experience an average increase in their electricity bills of 1.1% compared to December’s bills.

After the calculations, in an average monthly bill of 96.01 euros (couple with two children, contracted power of 6.9 kVA and consumption of 5000 kWh/year), the increase between the amount paid in December 2022 and that of January 2022 will be 2023 amounts to 1.40. euros, says the regulator. For a smaller family – a couple without children – with an average bill of 38.63 euros, the increase on the first bill of the following year will be 40 cents.

But despite the fact that energy prices have risen, there are still small gestures that you can adopt or change in your daily life to see your electricity bill drop significantly (see column opposite).

One of the basic rules is to analyze the contracted power, as this must be sufficient for the energy consumption in the house. Keep in mind that current appliances, especially those of energy category A, are more efficient, and there are also more energy-efficient lamps (such as LEDs) that, despite being more expensive, consume six times less energy and last eight times. times longer. most.

Savings also increase by switching off electrical appliances instead of leaving them on standby, and for example chargers for mobile phones, which are sometimes forgotten in the plugs.

You also have to take into account the number of people in the house and analyze very well which rate suits you best. The two-hour rate has different prices per kWh, depending on usage during off-peak or off-peak hours, with the lowest value being at night or at the weekend (off-peak hours) and the highest value at other hours. It may seem tempting, but it’s important to remember that if you opt for the two-hour rate, the rate for the same power for full hours will generally be slightly higher than the simple rate. This means that when you use the light outside office hours, the price you pay will be higher. However, the gains gained from making a large portion of consumption during off-peak hours can yield significant savings.

to take care Despite ERSE defending that it is essential to compare the offers of the different light providers active on the free market and to choose the lowest price, ERSE also warns against double attention on other fronts (see questions opposite).

The market regulator warns of existing bad business practices and gives consumers suggestions on how to avoid them. “Someone approaches him saying that he wants to present him with an energy offer and asks him to sign a document proving only that he was present at his home. What to do: Never sign a document without reading it. Always request and keep a copy of what you sign. If you’re in doubt after reading it, refuse to sign,” says ERSE, who also remembers that with distance selling, if you sign and regret it, you have 14 days to resolve the contract.

The warnings don’t stop there. “If someone approaches you and tells you to switch suppliers so they don’t run out of gas or electricity, don’t believe this story. Consumers should only change suppliers if they want to and if they are well aware of the new contract,” the regulator warns.

These are many of the issues that can arise, with the regulator stating that these bad practice warnings “focus on specific aspects arising from the systematic analysis of the complaints received by ERSE and trying to be in plain and accessible language. Each warning identifies a bad practice that is being followed and suggests how consumers can avoid it, and is disclosed when it is identified and deemed relevant to the information to consumers.

What are others doing? Seletra recalls that, in the light of this energy crisis, the Portuguese government was forced to take measures such as the creation of the Iberian Mechanism, the reduction of VAT on electricity and the amendment of the law to include restrictions on the return to the regulated gas market ( until 2025).

But compare what other countries have done in your research. In Spain, electricity cost an average of 121 euros MWh in 2021, but after the war the price rose to an average of 544 euros MWh, which prompted the government of Pedro Sanchéz to take several measures in addition to creating the Iberian mechanism, such as: reduction to 55 % of regulated costs on the bill from May to December 2022; reduction of the special tax on electricity from 5.1% to 0.5% by the end of the year and suspension of 7% of the tax on electricity generation;
Germany, on the other hand, was one of the countries most affected by this energy crisis, with electricity prices rising to about 37.30 cents per kilowatt and gas prices to 17.84 cents/kWh (an increase of more than 10 cents per kilowatt). since last year) has chosen to reduce the energy tax on fuels, to suspend the EEG tax (for renewable energy) since July 2022, to introduce a fixed energy tax of 300 euros from September for wage earners in income tax.

In Italy, too, electricity production is largely done with natural gas, as a result of which the price on the wholesale market has risen sharply this year to a record high of 680 euros/MWh in September. Taking into account that the price was around 40-60 euros/MWh between 2014-2020 and around 125 euros/MWh last year, the management has chosen to reduce the “System Fee” of the invoice since January 2022 ( 22 % of the bill), as well as an increase in the social premium for economically vulnerable families.

In France, the instability in the energy market has mainly affected companies, as they have not been given the opportunity to enter the regulated market. And even the benefits for those who have opted for this hypothesis seem quite limited, as energy prices in the regulated market are expected to increase by about 15% early next year. Faced with this scenario, the government decided to draw up an “Energy Saving Plan” for companies and give people on low incomes the so-called “energy check” of up to 277 euros per year.

Tricks to save on the bill

• One of the basic rules is to turn off all lights that are on unnecessarily
• Choose energy-saving lamps
• Unplug chargers and do not leave devices on standby
• Buy Class A household appliances
• Use solar chargers and prefer portable computers, which consume less
• Avoid the accumulation of ice in the freezer as this increases energy consumption
• Paint walls and ceilings in light colors to better reflect light, reducing the need for artificial light. Avoid very opaque lampshades, as these require the unnecessary use of more powerful lamps, and install motion sensors in passageways

improve insulation
• Do not forget to provide good insulation on the walls, floors and ceilings, and to use double glazing, which reduces the need for air conditioning.

Know the steps to change supplier

How to change supplier?
You can consult the list of suppliers available on the ERSE website. Then simply compare the proposals received with those of your current supplier to find out what the benefits are and especially analyze the prices charged.

What should I take into account?
Price comparison, billing frequency and payment terms are the main criteria. It must also analyze the terms of the contracts, their minimum duration and the termination conditions.

What precautions should be taken when comparing proposals?
Keep in mind that the amounts analyzed are comparable and, where possible, use historical consumption to simulate the amounts to be billed for each proposal. Do not forget to read the contractual delivery conditions. For this you can use Deco and ERSE, which have price simulators.

Is it necessary to replace the counter?
No, the meter is owned by the distributor, not the supplier. The meter will only be replaced if the consumer changes.

What are the reasons that stand in the way of the change of supplier?
Insufficient or invalid identification of the installation, overlapping orders, declared current (electricity) that is not normalized or higher than the requested, customer data that does not match the registered and the existence of fraud processes can prevent this change.

How long will the change take?
In general, the process does not take more than 15 working days. However, in some cases it may take longer than this period when intervention is required at the place of consumption.

How much will the change cost?
This process costs the consumer nothing.

Which entity is responsible for managing change processes?
The responsible entity is the logistics operator switching supplier, who will build this function in the electricity and natural gas sector.