It may feel like you have a new utility bill pushed through your door every other day, if that the case don't despair but take this repetitive bombardment as a sign to start noticing your utility bills, and most importantly, start saving money on them! Here's what you need to do:
Find out who supplies your utilities
Before you begin the hunt for the cheapest deals possible on your utilities you need to find out who currently supplies them.
If you have just moved into a new property, then the previous residents or your current landlord may be able to provide you with the details, if this doesn't apply to you then follow the instructions below for each household utility:
You can contact the National Grid's UK Gas Distribution department 365 days a year, 24 hours a day for free on 0870 608 1524, and they will tell you who supplies your property with gas.
You can contact the Energy Networks Association (ENA) on 02 07706 5100, or visit their ENA website to find out which electricity distribution network you reside in.
Each electricity distribution network will have a website tool or contact telephone number that'll allow you to find out which supplier directly feeds your property.
If you visit the water.org.uk website, you can find out which water supplier your property uses. To do this, find the region you live on using the online map and choose the region specific to you. You will then be redirected to the relevant water company where you'll be able to contact them directly.
If you're not sure whether your property's water supply is mains or metered then you should query this with your water company. Alternatively, you can find the contact details for your water company by visiting the Ofwat website.
Landline, broadband & TV
If you plug a phone into the landline socket in your property and dial '150', you will be put through to the operator of your landline provider telling you which company supplies your landline service. If the phone doesn't work when you plug it in, it's likely that you are not yet connected to a landline and will need to choose a provider to have this installed.
The simplest way to find out who provides your broadband and TV (if not using a Freeview service) is by checking the direct debits on your current account statement.
Work out how much you actually use your utilities?
Once you have worked out who supplies your property of your essential utilities, it's time to find out whether you are getting the best deal available to you. To do this, you'll need to work out your usage for each utility.
Gas & Electricity
You will be sent an annual energy statement every year, which will break down your energy consumption for the entire year, so you can use this as a fair assessment of how much you'll use over the next year.
In addition to your annual usage, your annual energy statement will also highlight the tariff you are currently on with your supplier, which means you have a base for any future tariff comparisons to save money.
For further details on the Annual Energy Statement read our guide Your Annual Energy Statement: The Key to Cheap Energy Bills.
If you have a water meter, or your mains fed for your water supply then you can work out whether you can save money based on your usage using the calculator on the Consumer Council For Water website.
To find out how much data you use through your broadband provider you can use the calculator on the Broadbandnow.org website, which helps you work out how much data is used for every internet related activity you perform on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
Finding a cheaper utility supplier
Now you will already have the essential information: your utility usage and how much it's currently costing you. The next step is comparing other suppliers to find the best possible price to suit your usage.
Switching your utility provider is simpler than you might think, and if it means savings you £100s each year, it's definitely worth spending your time getting the best deal available. Read our guide How Do I Switch Energy Supplier? for an explanation of how to switch your gas and electricity supplier with ease.
You can also use the following comparison tables to compare alternative utility suppliers for your property:
- Comparing gas prices can help simplify the decision for you.
- Finding a reliable and affordable landline can be made easier when you read our guide How To Get A Cheap Landline Deal.
- Choosing a new broadband deal can leave you spoilt for choice, read our guide Broadband Basics: 4 Steps To The Perfect Package for support on finding the right deal for your data usage.
Could you save by switching how you pay for your utility bills?
Prepayment - Electricity: If you currently use a prepayment meter for your electricity and want to work out if it's cheaper for you to switch to a mains supply, read our guide Prepayment Electricity - Should You Switch?
Prepayment - Gas: Does your property have a prepayment gas meter fitted, or are you considering the benefits of using one? Read our guide to prepayment meters for a clearer idea on whether it would be a cost effective switch for you.
Alternatively, if you want to compare gas and/or electricity prices based on your post code, use our gas & electricity comparison tool.
Dual fuel: Keeping your gas and electricity tariffs separate may be cost effective for some, but not for all, so it's worth finding out if you could save by switching to a dual fuel deal. You can compare these deals by using our dual fuel comparison table.
The best way to tell if you can save money on a dual fuel deal is by finding the cheapest price of electricity and gas separately, adding them together then seeing how that figure compares to the cheapest dual fuel deal.
Water meter: A way to save on your water bill could be to compare how much it costs to supply your property with water through a water meter, rather than using the mains. For more information on how it's possible to save by using a water meter, read our guide Stop Pouring Money Down The Drain and Save up to £100 a Year.
Cut your usage to save you money
Knowing how you can limit your usage in a way that doesn't necessarily affect your day-to-day life can be the key to reducing the cost of your utility bills. We have a collection of helpful guides that can help you do just that for the following utility bills:
Gas & electricity - Slash your utility bills by up to £170 a year.
Broadband and phone - 11 Easy Ways to Slash Your Broadband & Home Phone Bills.