Observations on changing electricity and gas supplier.

I did a little bit of spreadsheet work to decide whether I should change electricity provider. I have made a few observations which may be of interest.

My 2017 usage was 4,868 kWh of electricity and 21,563 kWh of gas. My first observation is something has happened whereby gas and electricity are now bought by the kWh and not the cubic foot, which I think was the case the last time I thought about this kind of thing.

Charges are 19.9983p per day standing charge for each fuel, 17.4195p/kWh for elec and 19.9983p/kWh for gas. My second observation is that these are amazingly similar, given all the losses involved in making electricity, much of it from gas. My current tariff is Co-op energy Green Pioneer.

Choices according to uSwitch: Co-op energy “fix and fly” or Bulb. My third observation is uSwitch were really motivated to organise the switch for me. I guess they are on commission (potentially undermining the impartiality of the advice they give), but I had to say twice “I do not want you to call me again” to make them not do so. This was a surprise.

Elec SC Elec Rate Gas SC Gas Rate
Co-op Green Pioneer 20.00 17.42 20.00 4.39
Co-op Fix and Fly 23.29 14.96 23.29 3.29
Bulb 24.56 13.79 24.56 2.67

My fourth observation is that the rates ARE less in the proposed supplier/tariff, but the daily standing charges are more. If you were interested in bamboozling the consumer, this is exactly what you would do, isn’t it? Clearly, in this set up, some users WOULD pay less under the new regime, and some would definitely pay more. In which group would I be?

This problem can be solved algebraically but I chose to do a spreadsheet and two graphs:

(Y axis is £ per month, X axis is annual kWh usage, Arrow marks my 2017 usage)


(Y axis is £ per month, X axis is kWh annual kWh usage, Arrow marks my 2017 usage).

So switching to the other Co-op tariff would take my annual costs from £1,908 to £1,579. Switching to bulb takes it to £1,401. Savings of £328 and £506 respectively. This is a lot. To lose out by switching I would need to be a very light user. Less than 1000 kWh of electricity (not 4686) a year and less than 3000 kWh of gas (not 21563) would result in paying more if I switched.

Well, switching away from Co-op is a step away from decapitalising my life (that is, buying things and services from non-corporate models of organisations when I can), but Bulb is all renewable and is a B Corp, and pennies are a little short this year for various reasons, so I have switched to Bulb. My fifth observation is how genuinely quick and easy it was to start the switch. The process is simple and laid out for me and will take a few weeks.

Oh yes: Bulb gives out bribelinks to new sign-uppers, so if you sign up to Bulb using my link, then I get £50 and you get £50. I am not sure how I feel about this. In fact, I am sure how I feel about this. I think it is bad and makes rational purchasing decisions impossible, and it makes it impossible for you to read this blogpost without wondering if I am doing it for the wrong reason. I am against this kind of thing. I am also a bit pissed off to find out too late that the internet completely covered with people’s own Bulb bribelinks, asking people to use theirs to switch.

Resentfully, here is my bribelink: bulb.co.uk/refer/william26

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